Communities and businesses have been invited to get involved in OpenLV, the groundbreaking project that’s making local electricity data openly available.

The OpenLV Project is trialling an open software platform in electricity substations that can monitor substation performance and electricity demand. The LV-CAP™ platform is designed to integrate with third party products to enable network control and automation, and increased customer participation in network management. The platform will host applications provided by a diverse set of developers, such as community groups, businesses and universities, providing a variety of services to network operators, communities and the wider industry.

As part of the OpenLV project, the software will be installed in 80 Low Voltage (LV) distribution substations located in Western Power Distribution’s (WPD’s) licence areas – the Midlands, the South West and South Wales. The software could ultimately be deployed across the electricity network.

The project will use three approaches to demonstrate the platform’s ability to provide benefits to the network owner, customers, and service providers.

1: Improving the capacity of the local electricity network

The OpenLV software platform will measure and manage activity within the substation and will allow the substation to temporarily link with other substations to increase capacity, or release capacity through active management of the local electricity network via new software applications (apps), if required. This will also improve system security, as temporary load issues can be mitigated by sharing load between substations until the demand decreases. By doing this, it will reduce the need for network reinforcement and will therefore save money for customers through reduced network operator costs.

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2: Community benefit

The OpenLV software platform can be used to provide data about the local electricity network to customers or groups of customers, with the aim of providing benefit to customers. The project will work with community groups to see if apps can be developed and installed that they can benefit from. We are inviting people to come up with novel ideas for using this data, either in the form of an app or in any other way.

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3: Development of apps

Third party companies will be able to develop and release their own apps for the platform to provide benefit to the operator and customers. EA Technology will provide the base API (Application Programming Interface) to work from.

The OpenLV Project team has invited anyone within industry and academia to come forward with ideas for new apps that can utilise LV network data to provide benefits to Distribution Network Operators, community groups, the wider industry and, of course, customers.

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The availability of data from substations along with the open software platform will help to create new economic opportunities and enable the transition to more actively managed local electricity networks.

Next: About the project