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LV Engine

We are changing the way we generate, distribute and use electricity. SP Energy Networks recognises the need to facilitate the uptake of Low Carbon Technologies (LCTs) such as, electric vehicles, heat pumps, photovoltaics.

Timescale

January 2018 – December 2022

Project Status

Work Package 1:
Technical Design

About the Project

About the Project

LV Engine is a flagship £8.3m innovation project funded via Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition (NIC). The project will carry out a globally innovative network trial of Smart Transformers to facilitate the connection of LCTs whilst representing value for money for our customers. This innovation is in line with the UK Government’s CO2 reduction targets which are driving the increase in electrification of both heat and transport.

Conventionally, electricity networks provide an alternating current (AC) supply. However, many LCTs operate on a direct current (DC) voltage which requires conversion from AC. LV Engine intends to design a Smart Transformer which can provide a LV DC supply to our customers for the first time whilst maximising the use of our existing AC network.

These will bring a number of valuable functionalities to the 11kV and Low Voltage (LV) networks allowing us to maximise the use of our existing assets.

Objectives

Project Objectives

  • Design and Trial a number of Smart Transformers within the UK Electricity Grid. Its application will be within distribution substations.
  • Provide the first functional specifications and control strategies for the smart functionalities a Smart Transformer can provide under different network conditions.
  • Compare the performance and functionalities of Smart Transformers with those of conventional reinforcement and transformers fitted with On-Load Tap Changers.
  • Provide technical guidance, policy documents, a cost benefit analysis methodology and tools for the intelligent selection of future Secondary Transformers to ensure the Business As Usual adoption of Solid State Transformer technology.
  • Provide Functional Specifications of a fit-for-purpose network design to inform the provision of Low Voltage Direct Current Supplies to UK electricity customers from Solid State Transformers.
  • Demonstrate the protection of Low Voltage Networks where power electronics are used.
  • Stimulate the UK market place for power electronic solutions within distribution electricity networks for future competitive production of this technology.
  • Provide performance and control algorithms data to universities for further academic research and development.
  • Up-skill internal staff on power electronics technologies and applications within distribution networks and the value it can bring.
  • Knowledge dissemination to UK Distribution Network Operators and the UK power electronics industry to facilitate the replication of LV Engine’s solution across the UK.
  • Collaborate with our project partner, UK Power Networks, to develop a solution which can be adopted by all UK Distribution Network Operators for Business as Usual planning and operation of Low Voltage Networks.

Benefits

The Benefits For Customers

  • We are working to keep costs low and stable for customers. The successful rollout of LV Engine in Great Britain is expected to represent a saving of £62m by 2030 and £528m by 2050.
  • The introduction of innovative Smart Transformers on the distribution network will pave the way for a low carbon future for customers.
  • Deliver significant financial savings if deployed across all electricity networks.
  • Demonstrate a low voltage Direct Current (DC) connection for low carbon technologies including Electric Vehicles (EV).
  • The project will stimulate a competitive marketplace for power electronics and Smart Transformers, contributing to improving productivity within the economy.
  • A potential saving of £62m by 2030 and £528m by 2050.

Partners

Project Partners

Project Partners

UK Power Networks

Academic Partners

Kiel University, University of Strathclyde.

Project Supporters

Power Electronics UK, Glasgow City Council, WSP, BRE, PNDC, BSI, IEC, IET, Direct current BV, Franklin Energy, Chargemaster

Reports & Documents

Diagram

Diagram

LvEngine