The ground-breaking project that has made local electricity data openly available.
What was EA Technology’s role?
Project partner, EA Technology, who were heavily involved in the successful Network Innovation Competition bid with Western Power Distribution, undertook the central role of project management for OpenLV. This included:
- Trial design and management
- Organising the deployment and installation of equipment, including liaising throughout with Western Power Distributions innovation and depot staff
- Desktop network surveys
- Data analysis
- Cost benefit analysis
- Reviewing compliance of third-party apps against protocols and issuing security certificates to apps once they had passed this process
- Disseminating project learning
LV CAP® and ALVIN® auto-reclose units used during the project were developed and provided by EA Technology. The LV CAP® technology has since been refined into the pioneering VisNet® platform.
What was the OpenLV project?
The OpenLV project made local electricity data openly available to businesses, universities and community organisations. During the now-complete OpenLV trials, the project provided groups with the opportunity to develop their own apps, allowing them to leverage their local network data to directly benefit their communities.
Great Britain has about 1million Low Voltage (LV) feeders; these have largely been designed and operated on a fit-and-forget basis for the last 100 years, but things are set to change. LV networks are expected to see radical change as we, as customers, alter our behaviour and requirements, stemming from the vehicles we drive, to the generation and storage devices we put onto and into our homes.
The technology trialled as part of the OpenLV Project provides a new, open and flexible solution that will not only provide the DNO, community groups and the wider industry with data from the LV network, but will also enable these groups to develop and deploy apps within LV substations through a common hardware platform.
OpenLV provided a platform to securely host and deploy apps across the LV distribution network. An app could provide services to meet the needs of communities, while contributing to national ambitions to create a ‘Net Zero’ carbon emissions future for every community. These apps provided benefits to the DNO, community groups and the wider industry.
OpenLV installed LV-CAP® in 50 substations to demonstrate how the LV-CAP® platform can benefit the local electricity network by:
- Monitoring the network
- Performing calculations on the data received locally, reducing data transmission requirements
- Calculate real-time updates on the state of network assets, including remaining local capacity
- Predict the future status of the network based on historical performance
- Enact changes to the local network in response to current and predicted network status
The project worked with seven community organisations to demonstrate how they could benefit by receiving data from their local substation. Each group had different objectives, specific to their community and location; these ambitions were facilitated by a web app developed by the Centre for Sustainable Energy. The participant organisations were able to configure the web app according to their own preferences and to suit their needs.
The OpenLV team examined whether there was a commercial need to provide businesses with access to the LV network data or a route to market for different organisations’ apps. Following a survey to assess market interest, the project team worked with a range of volunteer businesses and academic organisations with a variety of use cases and data requirements, including those who wanted access to centrally stored historic and real-time data, and businesses that wanted to develop an app.
More information about the project, including videos featuring volunteers who participated in the project and a Guidebook for communities based on the experiences of organisations who took part in the project can be found here:
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A DSO will fulfil a range of functions, some of which are broadly the same as a DNO, and others which are entirely new.