A new project in the northwest of England is expected to help the regional electricity network operator optimise supply while reducing customers’ bills by as much as £60 per year.
Up to 45,000 customers are set to benefit from the ‘Smart Street’ project, which will see innovative voltage control devices – the first of their type in the UK – being installed at substations across the electricity network, Electricity North West said.
The project will target areas with high uptake of electric vehicles, solar panels and other low carbon technologies, particularly where these overlap with customers living in fuel poverty.
It follows a four-year trial in which energy efficiency improvements resulted in customer electricity consumption being reduced by 5-8%, alongside a reduction in carbon of 7-10%.
According to Electricity North West, Smart Street will make it possible for the network operator to optimise the level of electricity delivered to households or businesses on various parts of the network, in line with real-time demand.
“Electric vehicles, heat pumps and other low carbon technologies are the future, but they also place a greater demand on our electricity network,” said Steve Cox, engineering and technical director at Electricity North West.
“Meanwhile, things like solar panel technology are having the opposite effect, with generated energy being sent back onto the network.”
The new devices will be integrated into Electricity North West’s network management system, creating the UK’s first actively optimised network.
Helen Boyle, strategic decarbonisation manager at Electricity North West, said: “In addition to lower bills and a carbon reduction, Smart Street will increase the amount of available network capacity, which will pave the way for more low carbon technologies to be connected to the electricity network in the future.”
Work will start in April 2020, with the first devices scheduled for installation in November 2020.