WPD looks to monitor EVs and low-carbon tech with new tool

Western Power Distribution (WPD) is set to identify and monitor the status and distribution of electric vehicles (EVs) and low-carbon technology (LCT) on its local, low voltage network with a new Virtual Monitoring (VM) tool.

In launching the VM tool, which uses artificial intelligence (AI), WPD has joined forces with ElectraLink and IBM. The project will aim to explore the feasibility of creating half-hourly load profiles for WPD customers which can then be fed into the VM tool. Advantages of this virtual monitoring of EVs and LCTs include helping WPD to improve its planning and facilitating the uptake of electric vehicles. This will enable it to demonstrate cost savings in line with RIIO2 protocols. It marks the first time that virtual asset monitoring, using customer data, has been attempted on an electricity network in the UK.

The project is building on WPD’s LCT Detection project which had identified around 15,000 EVs and solar installations that had been previously unknown to its network. Jonathan Berry, Innovation Team Manager at WPD, explained that, that project had shown what could be done to gain a widescale view of what is happening on the network. The VM Data project will now look to take this further.

Berry explained: “We will create robust and validated models which we can use to plan, forecast and reduce costs. This project will set the precedent for using data and machine learning to proactively improve, manage and operate electricity networks.”