15,000 previously unknown EVs and solar panels identified on WPD network
Posted by Anna Carlini on 29 March 2019 at 5:04 pm
Results have been published from an innovative project revealing a large number of previously unknown low-carbon technologies in Wales, the South West and the Midlands. Western Power Distribution (WPD), the company responsible for electricity distribution in these regions, funded the project to improve visibility of low carbon technologies, hoping to forecast the location of electric vehicle, solar panel and heat pump ‘hotspots’.
In November 2018 ElectraLink, Western Power Distribution (WPD) and computing giant IBM announced they would be collaborating on a project to identify the number of electric vehicles and other low carbon technologies on WPD’s local energy distribution network. This project is known as the Low Carbon Technologies Detections project.
Innovative approaches have been applied throughout analysis, such as utilising AI to combine previously independent data, such as text and images, to improve the identification of low carbon technologies. It also drew on ElectricaLink’s energy market database and IBM’s Watson studio to produce insights in the demand for a variety low carbon technologies.
The changing future of energy distribution calls for a project of this kind. The way that energy is generated and distributed is changing rapidly. One of the main difficulties that distribution companies are coming up against is the traditional one-way flow of energy networks – existing networks are designed to distribute large amounts of electricity from a small number of power stations to a large number of buildings. Fundamentally, they are designed only to flow in one direction. However, our relationship with energy is changing as more, as onsite microgeneration is increasing and electricity is being fed into the grid from domestic dwellings.
For example, Ofgem states that around a quarter of electricity now comes from renewables. This means that the changing generation, distribution and use of energy are resulting in the need for an energy network which can flow in variety of directions, and ultimately respond with flexibility to our modern relationship with energy. It also means that smart charging and other smart technologies are going to play an increasing role in the management of energy distribution systems.
Therefore, it is of high importance for DNOs, the companies responsible for managing the networks that deliver electricity at a local level, to understand the current number and location of low carbon technologies. This knowledge can help paint a clear picture for energy management in the present and provide a basis to make predictions and prepare for the future. The Low Carbon Technology Detection project did exactly this.
On the 21 March the dynamic results of the project were released, showing that a previously unknown 15,000 electric vehicles and solar panels have been identified on WPD’s network. This very significant figure equates to 13% more households with EVs or solar panels on WPD’s network than had been previously thought. The project also demonstrated the impact of LCT on households’ electricity usage: showing that households with solar panels installed used 25% less electricity than those without.
The project is being held up as a demonstration of the impact of technological advances in energy analysis. ElectraLink deemed the project ‘unprecedented’ and a pioneer project which can ‘pave the way’ for new concept models to be explored.
WPD’s DSO systems and project manager Roger Hey said the project was an example of how data and other intelligence is being used to drive innovation.
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