Alfen supplies charge points for Western Power Distribution’s smart grid project in the UK 05-07-2018

LV Connect & Manage project

Nottingham, UK - Alfen, specialist in energy solutions for the future, has been selected as the supplier of intelligent electric vehicle (EV) charge points for Western Power Distribution’s LV Connect and Manage project. The LV Connect and Manage project aims to provide smart solutions to enable quicker and simpler connections for low carbon technologies, such as EV chargers. 

The pilot brings the very latest developments in EV charging technology into the home. The solution essentially allows the local substation to communicate directly with the charge point. When the local grid is close to capacity, it will send a signal to the charge point to reduce the charging speed. When electricity demand decreases it will allow the charging speed to increase again. 

The project will include some 50 chargers in households in the West Bridgford area of Nottingham and will run for 18 months. At the end of the project the findings will be shared across industry and all interested stakeholders during conferences like the Energy Network Association’s Low Carbon Networks & Innovation Conference and Western Power Distribution’s Balancing Act conference.

Alex Earl, UK Country Manager for Alfen says: “Using smart technology such as Alfen’s EV chargers is a key enabler to facilitating a smarter, more flexible electricity system as devices can react to external inputs to ramp up or ramp down demand to keep the electricity system in balance. Alfen has been involved in a number of such smart charging projects and is delighted to have been chosen for such an innovative project as LV Connect & Manage.”

Western Power Distribution is investing over £7 billion in its network between 2015 and 2023. However, due to the pace of technological change it might not always be possible to invest in network upgrades before new technologies are available. Western Power Distribution is thus coming up with innovative solutions to meet these needs. Roger Hey, Future Networks Manager at Western Power Distribution says: “We are determined to ensure the local electricity network will not be a barrier to adoption of EVs and other technologies. Ultimately the LV Connect and Manage project will help make sure the electricity network stays within safe operational limits in the most cost-effective way possible as the number of EVs increases over the coming years.”

Nortech Management Ltd. is providing the Active Network Management and communications to deal with bi-directional power flows. While the technology has been proven for generation connections this is the first time it will be used for load demand and storage applications. Samuel Jupe, Nortech’s Network Innovation Manager, said: “Uncertainty in volume, location and type of low voltage connections means that it may not always be possible or efficient for Western Power Distribution to plan network reinforcement ahead of need. This trial will help Western Power Distribution to evaluate the intervention in a low-risk way.”
EV Charging Solutions were the chosen installation and delivery partner for the project. Their involvement included client engagement, surveys, load assessments, equipment procurement, installation and after-care services for the trial participants. Chris Everitt, Managing Director of EV Charging Solutions says, “We have a close relationship working with Alfen and Western Power Distribution after working together on the Electric Nation project, the world’s largest smart charging trial project. A lot of our learning from that project we brought across to this project.”

Project Participants:

About Alfen:
Holland-based Alfen operates internationally in the heart of the energy transition, as a specialist in energy solutions for the future. With its 80-year history, Alfen has a unique combination of activities. Alfen designs, develops and produces smart grids, energy storage systems as well as electric vehicle charging equipment and combines these in integrated solutions to address the electricity challenges of its clients. Alfen has market-leading positions in the Netherlands and has been experiencing rapid international expansion due largely to its first mover advantage.

About Western Power Distribution:
Western Power Distribution is the electricity distribution network operator in the UK for the Midlands, South Wales and South West, and is responsible for delivering electricity to approximately 7.9 million customers in the UK. 

About Nortech Management Ltd.:
UK based Nortech have over 20 years’ experience supplying monitoring and control technology products and services to utilities, generators and system integrators.

About EV Charging Solutions:
EV Charging Solutions is one of the UK’s most established, independent EV consultants and charge point installers. 

About Sustainable Travel Collective’s Big Wheel:
The Big Wheel is part of a Nottingham-based charity dedicated to reducing the impact of transport on our communities, businesses, roads and environment. It has been operating for over 15 years in and around Nottingham.