Designed to enable communication over the important ‘last mile’ between homes and their electricity substation, equipment developed by AND Technology Research (AND) provides a two-way data path for energy information between the homes and the local energy distribution company (Western Power Distribution – WPD) by deploying a technology known as Power Line Communication (PLC). This means that the village’s existing mains power cables can be used as not only a power source but a communication network, limiting changes to the infrastructure which otherwise would be needed as electricity consumption rises.
Over the last couple of months, volunteer residents recruited by the National Energy Foundation and Hook Norton Low Carbon, had their properties fitted with a prototype Smart Node, while substations common to each of the houses were fitted with a Smart Hub. On activation the nodes and hub automatically formed a network and engineers were able to see how well the energy grid was performing.
Steven Kear, Programmes Director at AND said: “We are delighted with the results from this initial test. The Smart Grid will provide WPD with the information they need to monitor and manage the energy they generate, a vital step in the push for efficient energy use”.
Following the positive result from this initial testing, the project can now move to the testing of the communications back from the hubs’ in the substation to a centralised data store and website for residents. A wider roll-out of equipment is also due to take place for larger-scale testing.
Delphine Wolfe, Consumer Contact Person at the National Energy Foundation, said: “Whilst this project is helping WPD to improve how they control the energy the village needs, it is also an opportunity for the householders to have a better understanding about their electricity consumption. The web platform will allow users to compare their consumption with comparable houses in the village hence providing a benchmark based on specific circumstances. Furthermore, in the next phase of the project, we will be able to use the data to give residents specific advice on how they can reduce their electricity consumption and energy bills.”
Delphine added: “The response we had so far has been very encouraging, but we need further participants in order to have more data. Anyone who is connected to one of the four smart substations (East End, Station Road, Bourne Lane or Southrop), is welcome to take part in this unique project by registering at https://www.hn-lc.org.uk/smart-hooky. A prize draw with a Eurostar Ticket, a restaurant voucher and 2 Village Shop Vouchers will take place once we have 100 participants.”
Notes to editors
Background to the project:
Part of the Hook Norton ‘Smart Hooky’ initiative, an Ofgem First Tier Low Carbon Network Fund (LCNF) project, the testing has seen homes in Hook Norton connect and ‘talk’ over a Smart Grid network.
The project involves partners: Western Power Distribution (WPD), AND Technology Research (AND), Renesas Electronics Europe (Renesas), National Energy Foundation (NEF) & Hook Norton Low Carbon (HNLC).
On 1 April 2011, E.ON Central Networks was sold to PPL WEM Holdings plc and are now known as Western Power Distribution.
For more information:
Consumer contact point for Smart Hooky
National Energy Foundation
Davy Avenue, Knowlhill, Milton Keynes, MK5 8NG