Ricardo supports UK Power Networks on award winning Smart Grid trial

Ricardo supports UK Power Networks on award winning Smart Grid trial
24 July 2017

Ricardo supports UK Power Networks on award winning Smart Grid trial

The UK Power Network’s Flexible Urban Networks – Low Voltage (FUN-LV) project, which is supported by Ricardo, has been awarded the Business Green, Green IT Project of the Year, recognizing its potential to “significantly improve the resilience and performance of urban grids in a cost-effective way”

The FUN-LV project uses power electronics to release spare capacity in the electricity distribution network. Smart electronic devices are fitted in the network to detect when the facility is running close to capacity. The power flow is then automatically redirected and shared with neighbouring substations that are more lightly-loaded.

The technology could significantly boost grid capacity, maximizing the power that can be used and potentially increasing the longevity of existing infrastructure. It could allow electricity companies to connect new customers and those requesting more power, quicker and at lower cost than upgrading or adding entirely new substations and cabling. Greater control over power flow could also make it easier to connect more low carbon energy generators to the network.

FUN-LV received funding under Tier 2 of Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund for Electricity Distribution Networks. This is the third time that the project has been recognized for energy sector innovation, having previously been awarded the European Utility Week Industry Innovation Award in 2015, and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Power Innovation Award the following year.   

Peter Lang, senior technology transfer engineer in the innovation team at UK Power Networks, said: “We are delighted on behalf of the team who have worked on the project to receive this award. Making the best use of the infrastructure we have available to us could have tremendous benefits to consumers, helping to keep network costs down and keeping power flowing smoothly to their homes. Ricardo played a key role throughout the project, displaying excellent technical knowledge and working with the whole project team to ensure the project achieved its learning objectives”

The award comes after a successful trial where 36 locations in London and Brighton were fitted with electric sensors. Ricardo played a key role in the development and delivery of the trial. This involved supporting the development of a control algorithm for the power electronics, identifying field trial sites and specifying business and user requirements for IT tools and technology. Ricardo’s energy specialists also supported the development of an LV load-flow modelling tool and real-time monitoring and control system. The team analysed trial data to identify, quantify and demonstrate the benefits of the technology, disseminating the results through a variety of internal stakeholder workshops, academic papers and conferences.

Cliff Walton, Ricardo’s technical project director, said: “Unlocking load capacity is essential to meet the growing and changing demand for energy and adapt to the emergence of low carbon technologies. The FUN-LV project is an important step in the UK’s journey to smarter urban grids and we are thrilled that the project has once again been recognised for the contribution power electronics can make to providing network flexibility.” 

Ricardo supports public and private sector organisations around the world to develop and implement smart networks that intelligently integrate energy generation, storage and demand in real-time. Its energy teams also provide strategic, economic and technical advice on how to connect renewable energy technologies into existing energy networks.

For more information on FUN-LV, visit: http://innovation.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/innovation/en/Projects/tier-2-projects/Flexible-Urban-Networks-Low-Voltage/

To find out more about Ricardo is supporting innovative energy projects arounds the world, visit http://ee.ricardo.com/energy