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Leading UK smart grid project the Customer-Led Network Revolution (CLNR) has embarked on a phase of industry consultation after the project’s close at the end of 2014, following four years’ work from the project team seeking innovative ways to support the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy.

The result, a rich body of work with far-reaching results from trials with real customers on real networks, is undergoing peer review by expert stakeholders. An industry consultation event on 5 February 2015 is giving selected stakeholders the opportunity to take a closer look at CLNR’s findings and offer their feedback on the project’s key outcomes and top-level reports as the project team prepares to formally release its documentation at the end of March 2015.

More than 11,000 domestic and 2000 industrial, commercial and distributed generation customers took part in the CLNR project, delivering important new insights into current, emerging and future electricity load and generation patterns. The project has also deployed one of the most sophisticated wide area control schemes in operation in Europe today and conducted large-scale integrated trials of electrical energy storage, voltage control and thermal rating, producing results which are applicable to 80% of GB electricity networks.

Findings demonstrated that solar panels, heat pumps and electric vehicles were less disruptive than was previously assumed; indicating that network operators can connect greater numbers of low carbon technologies to the distribution grid. Project data collected has been used to make recommendations to update industry planning standards to help manage the impact of low-carbon technologies.

Through one of the largest ever studies of consumer energy practices, the project found that customers are willing to be flexible about when and how they use electricity. Time of use tariffs proved popular and were easily understood by domestic customers – the majority saved money and demand for electricity during the 4pm to 8pm peak was around10% lower.

Industrial and commercial customers with capacity to provide 17MW of demand side response were recruited to take part in the project, demonstrating the viability of large-scale demand side response for addressing forecast network constraints.

CLNR has also created a template for network operators embarking on similar undertakings with ‘how to’ toolkit for distribution network operators containing a comprehensive suite of policy and technical recommendations, lessons learned reports and training materials.

Liz Sidebotham of Northern Powergrid said: “The insights generated by CLNR will have national relevance, providing a springboard to ensure that the development of a smarter powergrid continues apace. Our consultation phase is particularly important to ensure that we direct our results for the maximum benefit of the electricity industry and the UK. We would like to encourage our stakeholders to explore the extensive body of learning and resources in our website project library and we welcome feedback in writing from experts unable to attend our consultation event.”

The CLNR team are inviting feedback on their top-level project outputs, including the formal project closedown report and three key learning reports which look at:

For details of how to take part in the consultation process contact Liz Sidebotham on 0191 229 4242 or email liz.sidebotham@northernpowergrid.com.

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