Projects looks at impact of new technology on power networks

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Southern Electric Power Distribution (SEPD) has launched a £30m low-carbon network project to assess the way electricity networks react to decarbonisation.

According to a statement, local power networks will need to adapt to support changing usage brought about by the increase in energy supplied from renewable sources and the emergence of new technologies, such as electric vehicles and heat pumps.

Taking place over the next five years and funded by Ofgem, New Thames Valley Vision (NTVV) will measure the impact of those new technologies and is expected to make adaptation easier.

Working with SSE on trials and research are a number of partners, including Bracknell Forest Council, Honeywell, GE, Reading University, Kema, and EA technology, all of whom will provide services and technological input.

The partners will gather information on the way electricity is used, then apply smart analytics to develop models that will allow distribution assets to be used more effectively.

An area to be examined involves assessing methods of reducing electricity consumption during peak times to help alleviate transmission and distribution bottlenecks.

NTVV will also look at how large industrial and commercial companies can monitor their usage and find ways in which they can use more energy at off-peak times. Street-level energy storage and communications solutions will also be considered.

‘The low-carbon agenda will change the way we generate and use electricity, so the whole point of this research is to start planning what we need to provide on the networks,’ said Mark Mathieson, SEPD’s managing director. ‘Ultimately, it will allow low-carbon technologies to be taken up in the mass market. There will be real benefits for the Thames Valley and it’s particularly encouraging that we have so many local partners working with us.’