£62 million awarded for four smart grid projects in U.K.


London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — November 30, 2010 – Britain’s energy regulator Ofgem has awarded almost £62 million to four smart grid projects in the first round of awards from the nation’s Low Carbon Networks Fund.

The four projects were selected from a total of 11 projects that had been submitted for funding, with £64 million available for funding from the £500 million fund.

The four projects are:

  • CE Electric: Customer-led network revolution (£26.8 million)
  • UK Power Networks: Low carbon London – a learning journey (£24.3 million)
  • Central Networks: Low carbon hub (£2.8 million)
  • Western Power Distribution: Low voltage network templates for a low-carbon future (£7.8 million)

CE Electric’s project will take place in north-east England and will explore how a combination of smart technologies and changes in customer behavior can reduce the costs associated with low carbon technologies. The project uses British Gas’ early roll out of smart meters and low carbon products such as solar panels and heat pumps. Key partners include Durham Energy Institute, EA Technology, National Energy Action, Sustainability First, Community Energy Solutions, Sunderland City Council, Gentoo, Kirklees Council, Future Transport Systems/One North East, and North East Chamber of Commerce.

UK Power Networks’ project is a “smart city” initiative for London that will explore how to best use new technologies and active network management. The project, in which at least 5,000 smart meters will be installed, will also seek to understand when, how and why consumers use energy and how this can be influenced. Key partners include Siemens, Imperial College, EDF Energy Customers Plc, Logica, Smarter Grid Solutions, Greater London Authority, London Development Agency, EnerNOC, Flexitricity, Transport for London, National Grid, Lower Lea Valley Smart Buildings Project, Logica, RWE npower, and Institute for Sustainability

Central Networks’ project will be sited in East Lincolnshire and will investigate ways of increasing the amount of electricity generation – mainly wind – that can connect directly to the local electricity network. The project will monitor wind speed, generator output and network conditions and the knowledge will benefit small, renewable generators who want to connect directly to the distribution network. Key partners include East Lindsey District Council and East Midlands Development Agency.
Western Power Distribution’s project in South Wales will examine the effect that low carbon technologies have on the network. The trial will involve over 100,000 customers – around 10 percent of the South Wales population – and will observe in real time what happens to the networks when microgeneration, such as PV solar panels, comes online. Key partners include the University of Bath, RWE npower, Welsh Assembly Government, and Bristol University.

“The first year of Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund saw an enthusiastic response from all of Britain’s electricity networks,” commented Stuart Cook, Ofgem’s senior partner for Smarter Grids and Governance. “Both Ofgem and the independent panel were impressed by the high standard of entries, and the level of ambition in the industry, and we wish to commend all the projects.”

The Low Carbon Networks Fund is making available £64 million a year over five years, as well as £80 million to help fund smaller scale projects and a further £100 million as a discretionary award to reward projects that bring particular value.