£59.4m awarded for network innovation projects in Britain


Britain’s Ofgem has awarded funding of £59.4 million for 10 smart grid and other network innovation projects.

These are from the Low Carbon Networks Fund, now in its fourth of five years, and the new Electricity and Gas Network Innovation Competitions.

The four projects receiving funding from the Low Carbon Networks Fund are:

  • Electricity North West Limited for the ‘Eta: Creating efficient distribution networks’ project to trial interconnection and voltage management on LV networks (£8.4 million)
  • London Power Networks plc and South Eastern Power Networks plc for the ‘Flexible urban networks’ project to trial interconnection on LV networks to share network capacity using three interconnection methods (£6.5 million)
  • London Power Networks plc for the ‘Vulnerable customers and energy efficiency’ project to trial energy efficiency and demand side response with fuel poor and vulnerable customers (£3.3 million)
  • Southern Electric Power Distribution for the ‘Solent achieving value for efficiency project’ to trial targeted energy efficiency measures with domestic customers to alleviate network constraints (£8.3 million).

Projects awarded funding under the Electricity Network Innovation Competition are:

  • Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission for the ‘Multi terminal test environment’ project to establish a collaborative center to simulate the impact of high voltage direct current (HVDC) (£11.3 million)
  • Scottish Power Transmission for the ‘VISER’ project to provide new insight to the capability and dynamic performance of the system to improve network operation and planning (£6.5 million).

Projects awarded funding under the Gas Network Innovation Competition are:

  • National Grid Gas Distribution for the ‘BioSNG demonstration plant’ project to construct a demonstration plant investigating the techno-economic feasibility of the thermal gasification of waste to produce pipeline quality renewable gas (£1.9 million)
  • Northern Gas Networks for the ‘Low carbon gas preheating’ project to test new and emerging pre-heating technologies and associated operating systems (£4.8 million)
  • Scotland Gas Networks for the ‘Opening up the gas market’ project to demonstrate that EASEE specification gas, which sits outside GB standards, could be used safely and efficiently in GB (£1.9 million)
  • Southern Gas Networks for the ‘Robotics’ project to develop new robotic technologies that operate inside live gas networks, in order to repair leaking joints, manage risk of pipe fracture in larger diameter pipes, and repair and replace pipeline assets (£6.5 million).

“Innovation is integral to the future development of Britain’s energy networks,” said Hannah Nixon, senior partner, Distribution at Ofgem. “Today’s 10 successful projects show excellent partnership working with a range of organizations.”

In total, out of the initial 23 projects approved as eligible, 16 projects were submitted for the £109 million available under the schemes. However, Ofgem could not be confident that all these projects were sufficiently developed and able to clearly demonstrate they would provide good value to customers at this stage, a statement says.

The funding provided under the three innovation competitions is aimed to help make the energy networks smarter, accelerate the development of a low carbon energy sector and deliver savings to consumers.

More information on the projects is available HERE.