Supported through Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund (LCNF), the three-year Network Templates project took place in South Wales capturing and analysing over 500 million network measurements to establish for the first time how loads at distribution substations vary across different timescales and geographic settings.

The project included installation of monitors at more than 800 substations and 3,600 customer connection points on the network for collection of readings every ten minutes.

The resulting data, which was stored at Bath University, has enabled the company to create ten templates that accurately characterise load patterns in a variety of urban, suburban and rural environments.

WPD Future Networks manager Roger Hey said the templates will help in identification of hotspots where network infrastructure upgrades are needed and where additional generation is best connected, saving money and minimizing disruption.

"Insight from the project also enables us, and the wider industry, to base our future planning on accurate data rather than estimates," Hey added.

"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 had previously assumed in our planning."

The company worked with specialist partners and other network operators to ensure the templates were relevant nationally and could be applied to assist future network planning.