LV Connect & Manage

A Western Power Distribution Project

The phenomenon of clustering, where low carbon technologies suddenly become popular in a small area, can be a headache for the Network Operator.

An unexpected increase in the number of electric vehicles and PV installations demands costly network reinforcement, and the time needed to carry it out can delay the customers' low carbon technologies from being connected to the network. The unpredictability of clustering also makes forward planning difficult.

As an alternative strategy, WPD Innovation is trialling Technology for LV Active Network Management, which extends communications and controls to customers’ meters, to deal with bi-directional power flows.

Bi-direction power supply, bi-directional communications

In its CarConnect project, WPD – one of Britain's largest network operators with 7.8 million customers – already tested the viability of switching off EV charging stations in line with grid capacity. LV Connect & Manage extends this idea with more sophisticated, two-way communications and control.

100 homes in Nottingham and Milton Keynes, equipped with controlled domestic energy storage and electric vehicle charging stations, will be used to demonstrate the control system and customer control equipment for bi-directional active load management on an LV network.

Substation monitoring installed on the network, and equipment installed behind the appliances in customers’ homes will communicate via Broadband Powerline (BPL) and manage the charging of LCTs in balance with network capacity.

If effective, this technology could be supplied to customers to install in their homes and manage their loads until WPD has carried out more permanent network reinforcement, enabling cheaper, quicker and more efficient connections for customers.