23 projects eligible for smart grid and network funding in Britain


London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — May 28, 2013 – A total of 23 smart grid and other network projects have been approved for submission for funding from Ofgem’s network funding competitions – 8 for the Low Carbon Networks Fund (LCNF), 8 for the Electricity Network Innovation Competition (NIC), and 7 for the Gas NIC.

The LCNF is now in its fourth of five years, with a value of up to £64 million per year for electricity distributio¬n companies (DNOs).

The NIC is in its first year, with up to £27 million per year for onshore and offshore electricity transmission companies and up to £18 million for gas distribution and transmission companies.

“Innovation is integral to the future development of Britain’s energy networks,” commented Hannah Nixon, Senior Partner, Smarter Grids at Ofgem. “There is clearly an appetite for innovation, with all three competitions oversubscribed this year. It is great to see these companies work in partnership with others to produce a diverse range of projects that have great potential to deliver carbon, environmental and financial benefits for consumers.”

The projects approved for submission to the LCNF are:

Funding licensee 
Project name
Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution Solent achieving value from efficiency (SAVE) Produce an industry model to appraise use of energy efficiency measures to reduce constraints.
Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution Isle of Wight integrated network solution (WINS) Demonstrate how distribution automation and active network management can be combined to avoid curtailment of distributed generators following a fault or network reconfiguration.
UK Power Networks Vulnerable customers and energy efficiency Investigate how DNOs can engage with fuel poor and vulnerable customers within a novel end-to-end system partnership to trial technologies from simple time switches to smart meters in order to facilitate energy efficiency and provide network services, such as demand side response.
UK Power Networks Flexible urban LV networks Trial using new technology more flexible operation of urban LV networks incorporating LCTs with the aim of smarter utilization and better system visibility to balance supply and demand.
Electricity North West Limited Eta Employ innovative voltage control on alternative network configurations to show that a DNO can increase the capacity and voltage headroom available for LCTs, lower network losses and reduce overall energy consumption.
Northern Powergrid Activating customer engagement (ACE) Develop and trial innovative commercial methods and operational practices aimed at increasing DNOs’ access to cost effective localized demand side response from end customers without the use of tariffs.
Scottish Power Energy Networks Anglesey community energy (ACE) Use independent community engagement partners, behavioral research and novel business models to establish an innovative commercial approach to mitigate the need for network reinforcement.
Western Power Distribution Clean energy balance (CEB) – circumventing electricity network constraints Conversion of electrical energy into hydrogen gas, with use of electrolysis to absorb excess electrical energy beyond network capacity avoiding curtailment of generators. (Part of wider project also requesting funding from Gas NIC.)

 The projects approved for Electricity NIC submission are:

Funding licensee Project name
TC Ormonde OFTO Ltd Universal subsea joint Develop and test a new cable jointing system that can be used to connect different types of transmission voltage subsea cables.

TC Ormonde OFTO Ltd Modification of a telecommunications repair vessel for power cable repairs Modify a telecom cable repair vessel so that it can be used to repair transmission voltage subsea power cables.
TC Ormonde OFTO Ltd Innovative seabed scour protection method Test the installation of a new type of submarine cable protection system based on connecting mats made from used car tyres.
Scottish Power Transmission Ltd Visualization of real time system dynamics using enhanced monitoring (VISOR) Use enhanced monitoring techniques to provide visibility of system voltage and stability limits.
National Grid Electricity Transmission Ltd Mobile extra high voltage substation bays (MSB) Develop and demonstrate a rapidly deployable and removable mobile substation bay on 400 kV transmission network.
National Grid Electricity Transmission Ltd Mechanism for enhanced transmission capacity (MEdiCi) Develop and demonstrate new smarter asset models and commercial mechanisms to improve useable thermal capability limits.
Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc Multi-terminal test environment for HVDC Systems Establish a facility to demonstrate and test multi-terminal and multi-vendor high voltage direct current transmission solutions.
Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc New tower suite Develop smaller transmission towers (for 275 kV) using insulated cross-arms and low sag conductors.

The projects approved for Gas NIC submission are:

Funding licensee Project name
Scotland Gas Networks and Southern Gas Networks Hydrogen blending Investigate real network-wide regulatory and physical impacts of injecting hydrogen into the network.
Scotland Gas Networks and Southern Gas Networks Robotics Develop new robotic technologies that operate inside a live gas network, in order to repair leaking joints, manage risk of pipe fracture in larger diameter pipes, and repair and replace pipeline assets.
Scotland Gas Networks and Southern Gas Networks Opening up the gas market Demonstrate whether gas that meets EASEE Gas specification but sits outside the characteristics of gas specified within UK Gas Safety (Management) regulations can be distributed safely and efficiently.
Wales and West Utilities Limited Clean energy balance (CEB) – hydrogen injection for carbon displacement Test storage and injection technologies that will allow the hydrogen generated by an electrolyser (developed under the LCNF) to be injected into the natural gas network and transported beyond electricity network constraints. (Part of wider project also requesting funding from LCNF.)
National Grid Gas Plc Variable envelope compressors: Trial optimization and review (VECTOR) Develop and demonstrate the technology and process for retrofitting new turbo engine technology to make the envelope on existing compressors larger.
Northern Gas Networks Ltd Low carbon gas pre-heating Test new and emerging pre-heating technologies and associated operating systems.
National Grid Gas Distribution Bio SNG demonstration project Construct a demonstration plant that will investigate the techno-economic feasibility of the thermal gasification of waste to produce a pipeline quality renewable gas.

The three competitions follow the same timeline and network companies must now submit more detailed proposals in August (with a maximum of two bids per network company group). The proposals will be scrutinized by independent expert panels for each competition, which will provide their recommendations to Ofgem for a final decision on the winning projects by the end of 2013.