THE largest monitoring project of its kind in Europe on the network delivering electricity to homes and businesses has identified major savings, announced Western Power Distribution (WPD).

The Network Templates project was conducted in South Wales, when the company installed monitors at more than 800 substations and at 3,600 customer connection points to collect readings every 10 minutes for three years.

In total, more than 500 million measurements were analysed, from which WPD has created ten templates to accurately characterise load patterns in urban, suburban and rural environments.

WPD’s Future Networks Manager, Roger Hey, said: “Our templates will help identify hotspots where network infrastructure upgrades are needed and where additional generation is best connected.

“The insight from this project also enables us, and the wider industry, to base our future planning on accurate data rather than estimates.

“A good example of this is that we established that the actual capacity used by low carbon installations, like solar panels, was about 20% less than we previously assumed in our planning.”

A crucial finding was the opportunity to reduce the voltage across the network without any noticeable effects for customers, but could deliver savings as well as reducing annual carbon emissions.