Key participants in the electricity networks sector have met at the University in order to highlight the central challenges to the imminent roll-out of smarter electricity networks in the UK.
The major one-day event was run by the Low Carbon UK consortium, and was aimed at sharing new learning from all the major smart grid projects on-going across Great Britain, and saw contributions from all the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) companies, plus representatives from UK Government, Welsh Assembly and Ofgem.
To stimulate debate, Western Power Distribution presented project information across all of their major demonstration projects being run through Ofgem’s Low Carbon Network Fund (LCNF).
As part of the event, Western Power Distribution gave delegates details of its initiatives:
- Project Falcon – centred on Milton Keynes and aimed at exploring alternative methods to reinforce the network for coping with increased demand for electricity
- SoLa BRISTOL – demonstrating how solar energy can be used most efficiently in homes, schools and businesses
- Network Templates for a Low Carbon Future – delivering across South Wales the most extensive smart grid in Europe to measure the impact of new technologies on the electricity infrastructure
- The Low Carbon Hub – adapting existing high voltage assets in Lincolnshire to allow additional renewable generation to be connected to the grid
The event allowed the sector to assess the challenges in introducing new smart grid technologies, and to discuss opportunities for collaborative activity to address these.
Drawing from discussions at themed workshops, four key areas for research, development and demonstration were highlighted:
● Operational and practical installation issues
● Communication with customers
● Understanding the customer
Dr Ian Walker from the University’s Department of Psychology is leading the project’s knowledge capture and dissemination strategy. He said: “This unique event allowed exploration and discussion among the sector’s key players on four current Low Carbon Network Fund projects.
“These projects are central to the national deployment of smart grid technology, making an opportunity for all parts of the sector to share best practice, knowledge and ideas invaluable.”
Roger Hey, Future Networks Manager for Western Power Distribution said: “Events like these are a great opportunity for us to share what we’re doing to help deliver the electricity grids that will help our customers adopt low carbon solutions such as electric cars, solar panels or heat pumps.”
More information about the event, including summaries of each of the workshops plus documents covering the detailed designs for the SoLa Bristol and Falcon LCNF projects, can be found on the Low Carbon UK website.
Visit the Western Power Distribution website for more information about the company’s innovation programme.
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