Get ‘appy’: Western Power Distribution’s OpenLV Project

Ahead of the Low Carbon Network Innovation (LCNI) Conference, taking place from the 6th – 7th December in Telford, we will be posting introductions to some of the ground-breaking innovation projects that will be presented there by our members.

Once upon a time, and not so very long ago, the story of electricity distribution was linear. We took the power from the transmission network and stepped it down until it entered customers’ premises at the correct voltage.

Today the linear narrative still forms the spine of what we do but a whole new circulatory system is developing alongside it. From electric vehicles to solar farms, new technologies are joining the network at the distribution stage rather than the transmission stage.

There are new variables on the distribution network, which means we need greater sight of what is happening and where, so we can model the effect and implement any initiatives needed, such as managed EV charging, storage, regulation or even changing the way usage is billed.

OpenLV is hosted by WPD and managed and operated by EA Technology. The idea is to use the principles of smartphone apps in a distribution substation. Providing intelligence that benefits the network operators, customers, community groups, industry and academia.

Smartphones have taught us that you need an open operating system that works for multiple vendors and a central store for apps. The combination allows individuals to pick and choose what meets their needs.

OpenLV follows the same principle, providing such a digital platform. Western Power Distribution will be using the platform to create apps that monitor substation performance, voltages, temperatures and electricity demand. Then using this data to make decisions on how the network operates.

But other groups are being given the opportunity to submit ideas for how data from a distribution network could be used to develop new apps for their benefit. It’s the first time network data has ever been made available; not knowing what the callout might bring is just one of the reasons the electricity industry is an exciting place to be.

For more information about the OpenLV project, please click here.

Western Power Distribution will be presenting the OpenLV project at the LCNI conference on Wednesday 6th December.

For more information about LCNI, and to buy tickets, please click here.


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