Reflecting back on the OpenLV project
03 December 2020
Last month the OpenLV project team successfully delivered two webinars explaining our achievements over the lifespan of this project. Whilst putting these, and the other dissemination material together it allowed me to reflect on how much has been done since the trial began. This has been challenging not least because of the number of stakeholder groups involved: – DNOs (including our Project Partner, Western Power Distribution), businesses, academics, and community organisations to name but a few. To get a real sense of what we did I recommend you watch our end of project animation.
The low voltage network element of the trial demonstrated that the LV-CAP® technology can use locally measured loading data to perform on-platform calculations to generate signals if pre-determined thresholds are exceeded. Based on these signals the local network can then be reconfigured using EA Technology’s ALVIN®Reclose units, which were deployed as controlled meshing switches.
Business and academics used the data generated by the project for a range of purposes. Some organisations only wanted access to highly granular historic data, others took advantage of the data connection we provided – some actually created their own apps. It is remarkable how many organisations wanted to be involved in OpenLV, given they received no financial recompense for their involvement. They must have seen sufficient commercial incentive to commit time and expense to this venture. Our project brochure is packed with detailed insights into all aspects of the project, including lots of valuable case studies.
Using a web portal designed by project supplier Centre for Sustainable Energy, seven community organisations used local network data made available to them by the project in a whole a variety of ways. The enthusiasm that this group of volunteers demonstrated was genuinely inspiring! The project team brought together the learning from this element of the trial in a Community Guidebook that we believe will provide a roadmap for other organisations and groups to follow these pioneers.
When EA Technology first embarked on this journey back in 2016 the LV-CAP® technology deployed in the trial was still in its infancy. It has now matured into the VisNet® platform that we are installing as a business-as-usual platform for many of the other distribution network operators. The value of monitoring the LV network, especially as we continue our transition toward Net Zero targets, is being seen as increasingly important. But, in my opinion, the true value of this technology will be seen when it is used to locally control either the network, or the technologies that are connected to it. We were able to prove this was possible during the OpenLV project.
But key to all this these innovations is data availability – none of the achievements I highlighted above could have happened without it. It is also about making the right data available in a format digestible by all stakeholders and having the right commercial frameworks in place. This is something that we at EA Technology are continuing to explore further.
The full range of OpenLV dissemination material, including recording of our webinars, project animations and brochure, Community Guidebook and videos featuring project participants and partners talking about what they achieved can be found here.