Finding trial-site partners and quantifying a smart grid market

Client: Low Carbon Electric (LCE)


LCE wanted to know what stresses new types of demand and increased distributed generation might create on the network, and to quantify the value of relieving that stress. It also wanted introductions to potential trial-site partners to test its technology in a real-world environment.


CLT determined that Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) could save around £3.5bn over the next 20 years using LCE’s technology by avoiding upgrades on low voltage network. CLT also introduced LCE to DNOs and secured a trial partner for its technology.

Low Carbon Electric (LCE) designed a novel solution to increase the capacity of the existing electricity infrastructure and reduce losses in the UK. To find out when and where their technology was going to be competitive, CLT interviewed key stakeholders to pinpoint the locations and size of future demand drivers, like electric vehicles, and the likely impact of significantly more distributed energy production.

Since an electric vehicle can double a household’s annual electricity demand, scaling up EVs along a single street can quickly overwhelm the network’s distribution capacity. Without alternative solutions, DNOs need to install costly new low voltage underground cables in urban and suburban areas.

LCE’s ‘Phase Switch System’ (PSS) technology increases the amount of power that can be transmitted on low voltage electricity networks by optimising power flow between electricity’s three phases. This ‘decongests’ overtaxed electricity lines by balancing between heavily-used and less-used electricity phases through real-time phase switching. The technology also reduces electrical losses in both cables and transformers.

CLT determined that LCE could help DNO’s avoid replacing 25,000km of low voltage cables, saving or deferring £3.5bn. CLT also introduced LCE to the right potential trial site partners, and helped LCE secure a trial on a representative piece of a DNO’s low voltage network. The demonstration is being supported by the DNO and by Ofgem through the Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) programme.