Low-voltage monitors rolled out in Oxfordshire

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has now installed over 80 low-voltage monitors throughout Oxfordshire.

The monitors, which alert SSEN to changing levels of demand in real time, can be used for establishing baselines for the implementation and adoption of new technologies, such as electric vehicles.

A total of 81 low-voltage monitors have been installed so far throughout Oxfordshire, with an additional 19 targeted. 

Through its smart grid trials, Project Local Energy Oxfordshire (LEO) is preparing for a shift in the electricity system, from one where energy is only consumed to one where it can be produced, stored, balanced and sold back to the system.

SSEN’s recent Distribution Future Energy Scenario report forecasted Oxford will have over 71,000 electric vehicles, 58,000 heat pumps and 63MW of solar PV capacity by 2050. With low-voltage monitors in place, this forecasted growth and changing energy demands can be better and more efficiently accommodated.

The low-voltage monitors also assist in protecting the network and hardware connected to it, bringing greater network resiliency and cost savings. The ability to see live changes in demand also enables quicker response times to demand changes, providing more opportunities for flexibility and potentially delaying or avoiding traditional network reinforcement.  Previous trials with low-voltage monitors on SSEN’s network resulted in a 70% reduction in cost.

Craig Rankin, SSEN’s Head of Region for Ridgeway said: “With the uptake of low carbon technologies such as electric vehicles set to significantly increase in the future, the data provided by these new monitors will play a key role in helping us understand and respond to changes in demand and by provide more opportunities for a smarter and more flexible electricity system.”

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