Thames Valley energy project launched to prepare electricity network for the future
21 Feb 2012
Southern Electric Power Distribution is today [February 21] officially launching an innovative £30 million low carbon network project which will revolutionise the way electricity is distributed and used in the future.
Known as ‘New Thames Valley Vision’ (NTVV), over the next five years the project will help prepare electricity networks for supporting a range of low carbon initiatives.
The growth of renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, and the emergence of new technologies, such as electric vehicles and heat pumps, means the role of the local power network will need to adapt to support changing usage.
NTVV is a project involving a great deal of research to understand and measure the impact of those new technologies and make adaptation that much easier.
Working with SSE on trials and research are a number of important partners, including Bracknell Forest Council, and local companies such as Honeywell, GE, the University of Reading, Kema, and EA technology, all of whom will provide services and technological input.
The partners will gather extensive information on the way we use electricity, at what times of the day, and how much of it, then apply smart analytics to develop models which will allow distribution assets to be used even more effectively.
The project will examine many areas, including:
- How electricity consumption can be reduced during peak times to help alleviate transmission and distribution bottlenecks.
- How large industrial and commercial companies can monitor their usage and perhaps find ways in which they can use more energy at off peak times.
- Look at a range of street level energy storage and communications solutions.
NTVV is a £30 million project, funded by Ofgem and a range of business partners.
Ofgem’s acting senior partner for Smarter Grids, Governance and Distribution, Rachel Fletcher, said there was a significant opportunity for companies to change the way energy grids are run, to make better use of existing capacity and explore the scope to use demand side response.
She added: “Lessons learnt from the projects will be shared with all network companies and other interested parties. The aim here is to ensure the networks do not hold up decarbonisation of our energy use, and that the cost of the transition is kept as low as possible for customers.”
SEPD’s Managing Director, Mark Mathieson, said: “The low carbon agenda will change the way we generate and use electricity, so the whole point of this research is to start planning what we need to provide on the networks. Ultimately, it will allow low carbon technologies to be taken up in the mass market. There will be real benefits for the Thames Valley and it’s particularly encouraging that we have so many local partners working with us to help make it happen.”
Vincent Paliczka, Bracknell Forest Council, Director of Environment, Culture and communities, said: “The Council is delighted to support this innovative project and welcomes the fact that Bracknell Forest is at the heart of the new Thames Valley Vision”.