TPS and UK Power Networks are collaborating on a revolutionary research project to release spare network capacity and significantly reduce customer bills whilst achieving a greener electricity supply by 2030.

The idea behind the Active Response research project is to identify where spare capacity on the electricity distribution network can be released to support the predicted increase in electric vehicles. The four-year programme will trial a responsive and automated electricity network that will release spare capacity to where the demand requires. This will be made possible using power electronic devices to move electricity from heavily loaded substations to nearby substations with spare capacity.

Further building on the achievements of Flexible Urban Networks (FUN-LV), TPS’ award-winning smart grid converters will provide the hardware platform for Active Response. Creating Soft Open Points on both the low and medium-voltage network will enable the power in each substation feed to be balanced whilst maintaining supply voltage within statutory limits.

Active Response constitutes a pioneering approach that can proactively move spare capacity around the distribution system to support areas that are using more electricity. This means providing additional capacity in residential areas in evenings and at weekends when people are charging their cars, and then moving that spare capacity to where it is needed during the day such as city centres, commercial hubs, or electric fleet charge points.

This innovative project could save customers nationwide £271million by 2030 and cut more than 448,000t of carbon emissions by 2030.

UK Power Networks’ head of innovation Ian Cameron said: “A low carbon transport revolution is coming and UK Power Networks want to make sure electric vehicle users can charge when and where they want at the lowest possible cost.

Active Response is one of our key projects to enable this, by allowing us to research how we can move any spare capacity around the network to where it is needed.”

Engineering and Business Development Director for TPS Dr Nigel Jakeman stressed, “We are delighted that Ofgem have awarded Active Response and again to be working with UKPN to continue the commercialisation of the Soft Open Point converter, not just for low-voltage distribution but now also for medium-voltage substations.”

“This is another step toward TPS becoming a major supplier of Smart Grid Power Electronic solutions and we welcome approaches from industry professionals wanting to be a part of this exciting future.”

TPS is looking forward to working with its partners UK Power Networks, Ricardo, and CGI on this project.