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Government simulates performance of £11bn smart metering infrastructure

BT, EDF, PassivSystems, 3C Research and University of Bristol collaborate in modelling

A government-funded project has developed a performance simulation system for the £11 billion smart metering infrastructure that is being created for the UK.

The CLEVER (Closing the Loop for Everybody's Energy Resources) project was funded by the government's Technology Strategy Board. The project has created a platform to predict UK smart meter data traffic and system performance.

The project involved collaboration between BT, EDF, PassivSystems, the University of Bristol and 3C Research. BT is one of the companies that is expected to consider bidding for the contracts worth up to £5 billion to build the networks used to carry smart meter data traffic around the UK.

The system developed is intended to be offered to the wider energy community "to de-risk" the UK smart meter rollout of 51 million gas and electricity meters, which will "cost an estimated total of between £7 billion and £11 billion", said PassivSystems, which bills itself as a "connected home technology company" in the green technology sector.

The CLEVER simulated system covers the performance of the smart metering information systems, and communications networks and infrastructure from the enterprise management systems of suppliers, as well as the metering equipment in businesses and homes.

"The UK smart meter roll-out programme is one of the most ambitious undertakings the country has seen," said Ash Pocock, head of industry, regulation and external Affairs at EDF Energy. "With such a project no one really knows how the performance of the complex communications and meter data management systems and dynamic traffic volumes will take effect."

He said: "We need to understand these issues as early in the process as possible and CLEVER enables us to do exactly that."

Models for CLEVER were built by the University of Bristol and EDF, using communications network topologies proposed by BT and metering transaction scenarios developed by EDF Energy.

Earlier this month the University of Westminster was awarded a £507,000 grant from the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) to support a two-year research project into energy smart grids.

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