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Developing electronic ‘brains’ to deliver electricity quicker, greener and cheaper

Intelligent electricity networks which can keep the lights on more efficiently, will be in the spotlight for energy leaders this month.

From Press releases - 24 November 2016 12:00 AM

Intelligent electricity networks which can keep the lights on more efficiently, will be in the spotlight for energy leaders this month.

As a pioneer of using ‘power electronics’ in electricity distribution, UK Power Networks is hosting a research conference with HubNet at the Institution of Engineering and Technology in London on November 30 to share findings from recent trials in London and Brighton and take the technology to the next level.

Breakthroughs in power electronics are poised to bring community benefits which will enable more customers to charge more electric vehicles and connect more renewable energy technology. It will also enable UK Power Networks to keep down electricity distribution costs, deliver faster electricity connections and dig fewer roads to install new underground cables.

Peter Lang, senior technology transfer engineer at UK Power Networks, said: “Power electronics have the potential to deliver better, cheaper electricity distribution services for homes and businesses, though being at the cutting edge of this technology roll-out there are still lessons to be learnt.

“That is why we are hosting this conference bringing together academics, technological developers and network operators at the forefront of recent trials, to accelerate the progress. We will use the session to pinpoint areas that need further research and development, discuss ways to fund that work and identify future collaborations to advance important developments. These technologies will be relevant to us all in a low carbon future.”

Fitted at local electricity substations, power electronics look like little more than ‘grey boxes’ full of wires and small flashing lights, but they are intelligently working to release spare capacity and increase performance in clusters of electricity substations.

The technology can use the electricity network more productively than ever before, making it work harder for customers. It links together substations and allows the electrical equipment inside to run closer to its full design capacity, while keeping supplies safe and reliable. It can see any restrictions on the electricity network and can ‘think’ and act on that information for customers’ advantage.

UK Power Networks trialled the technique as part of its £8million Flexible Urban Networks at Low Voltage (FUN-LV) project, making best use of some existing equipment in Brighton and London to keep the lights on.

There will be speakers from UK Power Networks, Western Power Distribution, Scottish and Southern Power Distribution, Imperial College London and Turbo Power Systems.

To attend the event register here: http://hubnet.org.uk/events/power_electronics_distribution