Smart Grid Technology Can Help UK Tackle Carbon Emissions, Trials Show

Smart grid techniques would help the UK make more rapid progress towards its carbon emissions reduction target, according to a new study.

UK Power Networks recently completed Low Carbon London, its £28 million, four-year project to investigate the impact of a wide range of low-carbon technologies and solutions on London’s electricity distribution network. The trials included smart metering, demand side management and controlled EV charging, amongst other approaches.

The distribution network operator concluded that if just one of the initiatives was fully adopted across the country it would contribute around 5g/kWh towards the target to cut carbon emissions from the electricity system by 100-200g/kWh by 2030, with the potential for greater reductions. This is equivalent to replacing a further 700MW of conventional generation with low-carbon generation.

The trial involving smart meters showed that there was broad acceptance of the technology and most participants felt that dynamic time of use tariffs linked to smart meters should be made available to all customers.

In the trial of demand side response contracts among business users, customers including hotels, shops and tourist attractions were rewarded for reducing their electricity consumption or generating electricity locally when required. The 37 participants shifted enough electricity to serve 18,000 homes at peak time, according to a report by Click Green.

Reducing consumption at peak times in this way can relieve network congestion and postpone investments in expanding the network, keeping customer bills down.

Commenting on the project, Martin Wilcox, head of future networks at UK Power Networks, said: This is the culmination of four years’ hard work by 11 partners bringing together some of the leading names in smart grids. Low Carbon London brings us a vital step closer to the low carbon future and tackles the ‘energy trilemma’ to deliver low carbon, affordable, secure power supplies.

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