New software platform gives open access to local grid data

Businesses, academics and community groups invited to develop innovative apps using the data

A new software platform giving open access to data from local electricity substations has been launched by Western Power Distribution (WPD) and EA Technology.  

The software will be installed in 80 low voltage substations spread across WPD's licensing areas in the Midlands, the South West and South Wales as part of the Open LV project.

The platform - named LV-CAP - will enable WPD to cope with heavy loads on the local grid by using active network management to release additional capacity from existing assets - reducing the need for reinforcements and saving money for customers.

It will also provide local substation data to third parties such as businesses, academics and community groups, which will then be able use the information to develop new apps hosted on the platform.

A key aim of the project is to help deal with the rise of electric vehicles by giving much-need visibility over how much spare capacity is available on distribution networks. The data will be used to inform decisions on when and where it is necessary to implement measures such smart charging, vehicle-to-grid technologies and energy storage.

“The Open LV project is making local electricity network data open access for the first ever time,” said WPD innovation manager Mark Dale.

“This presents a great opportunity for smart thinking and innovation. We’re inviting people, ranging from community groups to industry stakeholders, to come up with novel ideas for apps that can make use of this data.”

EA Technology’s Open LV project manager Richard Potter said: “We’re at an exciting point where different sectors such as automotive, energy and IT have opportunities to come together to help the UK move towards a smart electricity grid.

“Innovative ideas about apps that could offer people benefits are welcomed from all sectors, as well as from the energy industry itself.”

The platform could eventually be rolled out to all high and low voltage substations across Britain. The software has been designed to be integrated with third party products to enable network control and automation. App developers will be provided with the base application programming interface by EA Technology.

Organisations or individuals with ideas for apps can register their interest on the Open LV website. The scheme is being funded through Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition. 

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