The drive for low carbon living is rapidly changing the way energy is generated, supplied and used. These changes can only currently happen within the confines of our existing energy network and this network is already working hard to keep up with the beginnings of this raft of change. While network investment is necessary, the Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) are obligated to spend efficiently. Wheatley has been investigating ways that technology can improve network efficiency.
What is the challenge?
The imminent growth in new domestic and commercial load in the form of Electric Vehicles (EVs), heat pumps and other Low Carbon Technologies (LCTs) will potentially test the existing distribution networks. If this is not addressed, the incremental and sporadic growth in load could lead to imbalanced substation transformers with potential negative consequences. Reduced efficiency of the transformer could increase losses and have a negative impact on CO2 reduction. Potentially high peak currents might damage feeder cables and cause thermal damage.
What is the proposed solution and how is OpenLV enabling it?
Wheatley will be trialling its application named ‘Substation Optimisation’, which focusses on feeder cable imbalance correction and overload prevention. The application will utilise data from smart meters alongside substation monitoring data to highlight load imbalance and will model how a DNO can rewire a cable with the minimum amount of physical intervention. OpenLV is providing the necessary data from a sample of substations to understand the scale of the problem over time and to develop a working prototype solution. This prototype could be used to prove the benefit available through optimal management of load by a DNO’s planning and operational teams.