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Marches Network Monitoring to support Community Decarbonisation

  • Infrastructure

About the project

Locally, grid constraints are increasing the cost and/or the timescales for communities or businesses to connect their low carbon projects, with examples such as:

• Businesses on some industrial estates being unable to add generation (e.g. PV on roofs) without the need for limitation.

• Constraints for new generation in rural areas due to capacity allocations for existing projects.

• Communities unfamiliar with how to use their energy to maximise their generation, reduce constraints and minimise costs

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20000 Total freed-up capacity (kWp) 20000

85 Enterprises receiving support

5 Innovative new products created

£654K Marches LEP Funding (Total Project cost £1,032,000)

National Grid Electricity Distribution and EA Technology are using the Marches Energy Fund to install monitoring equipment into 200 Low Voltage substations within the Marches LEP area.

Targeted to focus on areas of community interest and areas prioritised for inward investment, the project will improve the data surrounding the LV network in the Marches. Once in place, the project will share data, which will help to:

• Locate spatial and temporal capacity constraints, to inform energy generation and storage investors.
• Support energy consumers, including those in fuel poverty, on opportunities for providing demand side measures, e.g. reduced EV charging or deferred space heating.
• Facilitate the creation of a local energy market for trading variable loads with variable generation within the agreed area.

Grid monitoring is a critical enabler in the transition to decarbonised energy, particularly as more energy vectors (heat and transport) switch over from fossil fuels to electricity.

Monitoring has existed on the higher voltage networks for some years, and increasingly this data is shared with the outside world through data portals and platforms. The LV network remains one part of the system where grid constraints are more opaque, mainly as >99% of these circuits are unmonitored. The provision of monitoring at this voltage provides a clear understanding of what is happening in real-time, plus can be used as a tool to:

• Identify when faults have happened or are likely to happen to improve supply quality to connected customers.
• Understand how demand is changing on a network so that flexibility signals can be sent to other actors.
• Quantify issues such as extreme temperatures, and their impact on demand and the life expectancy of the assets.
• Assess when strategic reinforcement may be required.

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