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UKPN: ANM for Demand Response will save UKPN £43m over 8 years

UKPN: ANM for Demand Response will save UKPN £43m over 8 years

London, like many cities around the world, is a key driver for national economic prosperity and faces the challenges of continual growth in demand for electricity. The city’s carbon reduction targets led UK Power Networks, the distribution utility for London, to launch Low Carbon London. It is a £28.3m project which helps to address the challenge of integrating distributed energy resources in a city environment, while keeping down costs for customers. We delivered a number of critical trials to demonstrate the benefits of using distributed generation and smart electric vehicle charging to provide demand side response.  As a result of the Low Carbon London project, UK Power Networks identified £43m of savings to customers through the adoption of the solutions.

In cities, short journey times, coupled with the elimination of harmful greenhouse gases, make electric vehicles (EVs) particularly attractive. London, like many cities, has introduced congestion charging and incentives for electric vehicle take-up.  If penetration levels meet expectations, the local grid will quickly require upgrades to handle the increased network loading. 

As cities continue to grow, demand for electricity also grows.  The network is sized to handle peak demand even though this may only be required for short periods of time at specific times of the year - for example, a summer peak as a result of air conditioning load. 

The challenge to UK Power Networks is in how to minimise the impact to customers, operationally and financially, of accommodating these new and varying demands.  Within London, many of the substations are underground, meaning that major equipment replacement is significantly more expensive than in other areas of the network.  Many roads that provide ducts for electricity, as well as other services, are already at capacity and upgrading them can be disruptive.  On top of this, the speed of electric vehicle take-up and demand growth may prove to be faster than any utility can plan for with network upgrades. The objective is to find new, faster ways to integrate EVs and to accommodate demand growth without the cost, time and inconvenience of major network upgrades.

As part of Low Carbon London, UK Power Networks has deployed our Active Network Management (ANM) products to implement smart controls in the way EVs are charged. ANM monitored power flows within high voltage primary substations and autonomously issued set point controls to EVs.

The Low Carbon London project also provided visibility and varying levels of control over Distributed Generation so that it could reliably contribute to security of supply.  Demand Side Response (DSR) was delivered as an operational tool to achieve this by decreasing electricity consumption, shutting off power to non-essential loads or increasing power production from Distributed Generation.

Our ANM products were configured to handle the operational limitations of the contracted Distributed Energy Resource (DER) participants (such as utilisation availability, usage limitations and speed of response) to ensure that local network locations were never overloaded.  This approach enabled UK Power Networks to implement DSR directly with DER owners or via demand aggregators. Our ANM products also allow prioritisation to be set and the most economically viable assets to be deployed from either group of participants.

During the smart EV charging trials, ANM monitored and controlled the power flow at 47 charge posts, with a total capacity of over 600 kW, across London.  The result is a proven solution that can be rolled out should EV uptake increase significantly and rapidly in the capital.

During the project, we trialed DSR with over 20 DER sites both directly and via Demand Aggregators with a total contractual capacity of 27 MW.  The DSR events were triggered via 4 primary substations in the London distribution network and the DSR sites consisted of both variable load and Distributed Generation. UK Power Networks identified 10 substations where Distributed Generation, controlled by ANM, could contribute to security of supply with a near-term benefit of £8.7m. 

As a result, UK Power Networks has identified £43m worth of savings over the next 8 years by eliminating the need for grid upgrades due to the improved visibility and contribution of Distributed Generation to security of supply.

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