AND Technology Research (AND) has successfully conducted initial testing of Smart Grid networking technology in the Oxford village of Hook Norton.
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 & 'talk' over a Smart Grid network.
Steven Kear, Programmes Director & one of the AND team onsite during two test events said, "We are delighted with the results from this initial set of testing. The Smart Grid will provide energy companies with the information they need to control & monitor the energy they generate, a vital ingredient in the push for efficient energy use".
Designed to enable communication over the important 'last mile', the equipment developed by AND provides a two-way data path for energy information between homes & energy distribution companies by deploying a technology known as Power Line Communication. 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. Steven Kear adds "... utilising the PLC solution in this way, not only provides a communications path but importantly gives fine-grain visibility into a otherwise largely hidden electricity supply network/grid".
The project involves partners Western Power Distribution (WPD), Renesas Electronics Europe (Renesas), National Energy Foundation (NEF) & Hook Norton Low Carbon (HNLC). In early February volunteer residents recruited by NEF & HNLC, 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 & hub automatically formed a network & engineers were able to see how well the energy grid was performing.
Following the positive result from this initial testing, the project can now move to the trials stage whereby various scenarios will be exercised in addition to testing of the communications back from the hubs' in the substation to a centralised data store & website for residents. A wider roll-out of equipment is also due to take place for larger-scale testing.
Notes to editors:
On 1 April 2011, E.ON Central Networks was sold to PPL WEM Holdings plc. & are now known as Western Power Distribution.
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