Scheme finds low-carbon technologies ‘less disruptive’ than thought

Low-carbon technologies, such as electric vehicles and renewables, are “less disruptive” than previously predicted, according to distribution network operator (DNO) Northern Powergrid.

The findings come from the DNO’s Customer-Led Network Revolution (CLNR) scheme in the UK, which discovered that there is “little evidence” of customers’ new low-carbon technology installations creating power quality problems.

The research also revealed that the majority of domestic customers are “inherently flexible”, with a significant level of “naturally occurring diversity” in energy practices.

Additionally, time-of-use tariffs enabled by smart meters “could deliver value in the next 10 years, when delivered in conjunction with energy suppliers”, while demand-side response (DSR) is “fit for business as usual today”.

Northern Powergrid said the learning from the CLNR project has shown that “there is no one-size-fits-all solution to address the impact of low-carbon technologies and has demonstrated that the solutions can start relatively simply and evolve over time as the complexity of the constraint increases.”
Smart grid
In 2010, Northern Powergrid’s CLNR project, a collaboration with British Gas, Durham University, Newcastle University and network consultants EA Technology, was granted £27 million subsidy from Ofgem’s Low Carbon Network (LCN) fund, the largest second tier award made by the regulator to date.

The aim of the project was to find out whether customers could be flexible in how they use and generate electricity, as well as how DNOs can contribute to reducing customers’ energy costs and emissions in the coming years.

Northern Powergrid explored smarter alternatives to meeting new demands on the power grid, including new network technologies and flexible customer response, to replace the traditional method of reinforcing the network.

The company said it will now share the knowledge gained from the project with other network operators to “help ensure UK electricity networks are fit for the future and can rise to the challenges presented by a low carbon future”.

The project was hailed a success by Ofgem who said it had “more than fulfilled the commitments made”.

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