26 May 2021
Western Power Distribution gets ready for increased EV uptake with Network Assessment Tool
With sales of new petrol and diesel cars set to end in the UK by 2030, the pressure is on for electricity networks to be ready to handle an increasing number of electric vehicles (EV). Western Power Distribution has been using bespoke Network Assessment Tool (NAT) software developed by EA Technology in 2018 to ensure that it’s in the best possible position to support EV uptake.
What does the Network Assessment Tool do?
The software platform provides engineers at WPD who plan Low Voltage (LV) networks with a tool to view and assess LV network operating conditions under future EV penetrations. The tool shows where and when network performance might be detrimentally affected by EV charging and indicates where network reinforcement or replacement may be needed.
The Network Assessment Tool also includes an option to assess the potential benefit of using smart charging to delay or avoid the need to reinforce networks that could be overloaded by EV charging.
What does the Network Assessment Tool look at?
The software maps several factors:
- Low Voltage (LV) substations and their associated networks (underground cables and overhead lines making up feeders)
- Customer meter points mapped to LV substations and networks
- Known EV charge point installations
How does the software help?
Having mapped WPD’s asset data, the NAT assesses the network conditions that will arise for given personal electric vehicle (PEV) uptake scenarios in the future. It calculates feeder loading and voltage drop using the same approach as Western Power Distribution’s existing network modelling tools.
From this information, it’s possible to determine an ‘EV Readiness Index’ for every network, giving Western Power Distribution the information it needs to plan network upgrades.
Finally, based on the behaviours observed in the Electric Nation smart charging trials carried out by EA Technology, Western Power Distribution’s engineers can use the NAT to evaluate the effect of smart charging deployment on each network, down to modelling the impact of a number of EVs of their choice on an individual substation. These planning insights mean that they can avoid disruptive or unnecessary network upgrades as far as possible.