ADVENT project

Advanced Data-driven Virtual Electricity Network Tracking

Apply to join the Harbury trialApply to join the Writtle trialApply to join the Marlow trial

We are inviting the Harbury community (1st trial area), Writtle community (2nd trial area) and a select area from the Marlow community (3rd trial area) to apply to participate in Project ADVENT and take part in a 6-month trial.

Please apply now by completing the appropriate Expression of Interest form if you live in Harbury, Writtle or Marlow and are interested in taking part in the project. 

COVID-19 Update: Please note; all timescales for the project are subject to delay due to COVID-19 and all decisions are based on government advice in relation to the coronavirus. Our aim is to avoid any site visits providing assistance by phone and email.

Our energy system is changing!

Electricity grids have changed quite gradually in the past, but now things are changing rapidly – both in the way we use electricity (e.g. electric cars, static batteries, heat pumps) and the way we generate electricity (more wind and solar, less coal). Whilst we pay our energy bills to an energy supplier – they in turn pay part of this to regional Distribution Network Operators (such as Western Power Distribution) who are responsible for looking after our electricity infrastructure – including maintaining and upgrading substations, the cabling in our roads up to the fuses to our homes.

With so many changes occurring they need an effective way of monitoring the health of the electricity network without investing huge amounts of money installing monitoring equipment in our substations that we would all pay via our energy bills.

What is project ADVENT?

One way to check the electricity network is resilient is to monitor the voltage of electricity as widely as possible. The aim of ADVENT is to conduct a trial to test this theory – by collecting and reporting voltage readings taken from multiple points across your neighbourhood – to see whether it is feasible to use this information to provide an insight to the health of your local electricity network.

More and more electrical devices at home will be connected to the internet in future, and some may report voltage. We therefore want to test whether obtaining data in this way can provide a quicker, more cost-effective approach that will benefit all our communities during this low carbon transition.

emonPi energy monitoring device

emonPi energy monitoring device

Project trial areas: Harbury, Writtle & Marlow

We would like to recruit a number of participants in Harbury, Writtle and Marlow to take part in three different trial areas. We would like to ask for participants to plug-in a device (such as the emonPi) into a plug at your home and then connect over a wireless connection or wired cable to your internet router, to measure the voltage in your home and send this back to our project partners electronically. We will then monitor voltage levels for a few months – whilst comparing this with measurements taken at a local electricity substation. We will provide periodic updates to participants and will be available by email or over the phone if you have any queries.

Trial 1: Harbury 

September 2021 – March 2022

To apply to be a participant on this first trial for project ADVENT, you must live in Harbury. This includes the following postcode districts: Harbury, CV33

Apply to join the Harbury trialView the Harbury community invitation

Why Harbury?

Harbury was recommended to us as a very knowledgeable, energy conscious community – committed to decarbonisation and energy efficiency. This has been clearly demonstrated over the past decade with a wide range of Harbury energy initiatives covering energy reduction, LED lighting, solar installations and insulation, to name a few. One of the project partners (Hangar 19) has experience working with the community already – assisting with the e-Wheels social transport scheme. As one of the most forward-thinking communities – it feels like an ideal location to test out an idea that may assist communities across the UK to decarbonise more rapidly, and at lower costs and disruption to us all

Trial 2: Writtle

September 2021 – March 2022

To apply to be a participant on this first trial for project ADVENT, you must live in Writtle. This includes the following postcode districts: Writtle, CM1

Apply to join the Writtle trialView the Writtle community invitation

Trial 3: Marlow

September 2021 – March 2022

To apply to be a participant on this first trial for project ADVENT, you must live in Marlow. If possible. we are looking for a group of participants or neighbours who reside on Ryan’s Mount or this immediate area. This includes the following postcode districts: Marlow, SL7

Apply to join the Marlow trialView the Marlow community invitation

Project recruitment and trial process

Due to the project looking to recruit participants within the Harbury area (trial 1), a space will be confirmed before issuing the Participant Agreement in stage 2, if successful and spaces are available. The project partners will allocate project spaces and equipment, and has the final decision.

From Apr – July 2021

1. Complete the appropriate Expression of Interest application form

From May – July 2021

2. If selected, complete a Participant Agreement form to continue

From Jul – Aug 2021

3. The project equipment will be installed & data flow tested

Sept 2021 – Feb 2022

4. 6-month project trial period

Sept 2021 – Feb 2022

5. Gathering data and progress reports

Mar – Apr 2022

6. Project equipment removed & trial summary produced

Project Benefits

One way to check the electricity network is resilient is to monitor the voltage of electricity cables as widely as possible.

Smart devices in homes (like smart electric car chargers) may automatically record voltage.  On project ADVENT we would like to explore whether taking voltage readings from multiple homes would help the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) to estimate voltages more widely, and at the substation.

We want to test out this theory by installing voltage recording devices into multiple homes in the same area – whilst also monitoring how these readings compare with readings taken at the substation.

Benefits for participants

  • Helping UK communities including Harbury, Writtle and Marlow to enable the adoption of low carbon technologies (LCTs) as smoothly and cost effectively as possible, towards our goal of Net Zero.
  • Often, the DNOs do not know you may have a serious voltage problem until you have a power cut and phone for help!
  • It would cost us all a lot of money on our energy bills to put sophisticated measurement devices across the UK in our neighbourhoods to combat this issue.
  • …so is there a better way? That’s what project ADVENT is aiming to find out!

Benefits for the industry

  • Having these voltage readings could enable DNO’s to better monitor the health of the electricity network
  • Proactively respond to any voltage problems detected i.e. blackouts/power cuts
  • This could save on high infrastructure upgrade costs which may not be necessary if the technology to gather this data accurately already exists.

Project Partners

University of Reading have research experience and expert academics on electricity system modelling. Hangar 19 Develop transport solutions for energy systems and electric car charging including in Harbury! CrowdCharge Have a smart platform for managing electric car chargers alongside solar and batteries. We are responsible for project ADVENT engagement and recruitment activities. Western Power Distribution is the local Distribution Network Operator who will help us gather data from substations. Innovate UK is providing funding.

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