Ricardo supports trial to unlock grid capacity

Posted on 21 Jan 2018 and read 486 times
Ricardo supports trial to unlock grid capacityRicardo (www.ricardo.com) — a global engineering and environmental consultancy — is supporting a trial run by UK Power Networks into using ‘smart grid’ technology to unlock spare capacity for increased electric-vehicle use.

The aim is to maximise the power available from existing infrastructure “while avoiding costly network reinforcement or sub-station replacement”.

The project — called Active Response — will trial a “responsive automated electricity network that reconfigures itself, moving spare capacity to where the demand is”.

It will do this by using power electronics and automated switching.

In November 2017, Ofgem approved the joint bid for the project (submitted by UK Power Networks and SP Energy Networks
as part of the annual Network Innovation Competition).

Ricardo has supported the project from the initial concept, and it will continue to play a key role throughout its lifespan of four years.

It is anticipated that by 2030 there will be up to 1.9 million electric vehicles in use in London, the East and South East of England where UK Power Networks delivers electricity.

Active Response will be the first time that electricity networks can “proactively move spare capacity around the system” to support areas that are using more electricity.

This means providing additional capacity in residential areas in evenings and at weekends when people are charging their cars, and then moving that spare capacity to where it is needed during the day — such as city centres, commercial hubs or electric fleet-charging points.

Upgrading an electricity sub-station — or adding entirely new sub-stations and cabling when customers need more power — takes time, costs money and can cause disruption due to roadworks.

Instead, Active Response could allow electricity companies across the UK to use these power-sharing techniques to connect new customers — and those requesting more power — more quickly and at lower cost.

Ricardo is also providing strategic services to help businesses adapt to the UK’s changing energy mix. This includes helping some of Europe’s largest road-vehicle fleet operators to plan for electrification.

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