The Network Assessment Tool is a software platform being developed by EA Technology for Western Power Distribution (WPD) as part of the Electric Nation project.
The software platform will provide WPD’s engineers who plan Low Voltage (LV) networks with a new tool to view and assess LV network operating conditions under future EV penetrations. The tool will indicate where and when network performance might be detrimentally affected by EV charging and so indicate where network reinforcement or replacement might be needed in the future. It will also include an option to assess the potential benefit of using smart charging to delay or avoid the need to reinforce networks that might be overloaded by EV charging loads.
The Network Assessment Tool, which was recently demonstrated at the Low Carbon Network and Innovation Conference 2018, presents engineers with an indicator of the utilisation level of LV substation in WPD’s operational area. The potential impact of EV uptake, through the installation of EV chargers in homes, on the utilisation (percentage of design capacity used at peak demand periods) of each substation and the cables or overhead lines (feeders) that the substation serves is calculated and displayed. The impact of this extra EV charging load on supply voltage along each feeder is also calculated and indicated where the voltage drops below an acceptable limit. The Network Assessment Tool highlights individual substations or feeders that may require investment as EV uptake increases.
The Tool also displays the location of domestic EV chargers already connected to WPD’s network, the future forecasts of EV uptake for each substation and allows WPD’s engineers to model the effect of a number of EVs of their choice on an individual substation.
The Network Assessment Tool is populated with WPD asset data. Load flow data is calculated using EA Technology’s DEBUTTMload flow assessment program. Data on EV uptake forecasts has been prepared by Regen for WPD.