Five smart grid projects awarded £45.5 million funding in Britain


Hannah Nixon,
Senior Partner
London, England — (METERING.COM) — November 26, 2012

Five smart grid projects have been awarded a total of £45.5 million in the third round of funding from Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund.

The five projects are:

• Electricity North West, for the CLASS (Customer Load Active System Services) project to investigate how reducing voltage on the distribution network can reduce peak demand and support the wider electricity system (£7.2 million)

• Scottish Power Distribution, for the ARC (Accelerating Renewable Connections) project to trial a holistic approach to the connection process for distributed generation to tackle barriers to timely connection (£7.4 million)

• Southern Electric Power Distribution and EA Technology (as lead partner), for the Innovation Squared project to trial a technology that will allow a cluster of electric vehicles to recharge without stressing the distribution system (£4.2 million)

• UK Power Networks, for the SNS (Smarter Network Storage) project to investigate the optimization of a range of battery services with the aim of improving the economics of storage (£13.2 million)

• Western Power Distribution (West Midlands), for the Flexgrid project which will assess different methods to reduce fault level and allow for cheaper and quicker connection of distributed generation (£13.5 million).

“The energy mix and technology is changing and the way networks operate has to change too – that’s why Ofgem set up the LCN Fund three years ago,” commented Hannah Nixon, senior partner for distribution at Ofgem. “By promoting investment in innovation now we can help avoid problems and expensive fixes in the future.”

The LCN Fund has worth of up to £500 million over 5 years to support projects that display the potential to accelerate the development of a low carbon energy sector, provide value for money to customers and deliver financial benefits to consumers.

In the first year of funding in 2010 four projects were awarded £62 million. Last year six projects were awarded £57 million.

According to Ofgem in a statement, the first projects are starting to provide valuable learning, which is being shared across the industry and more widely.

The project applications are assessed by an independent expert panel chaired by Dr Robin Bidwell, a founder of the global consultancy ERM and chairman of the ERM Foundation Low Carbon Fund.

Two further projects, while being seen to be innovative, did not sufficiently fulfil the criteria for funding. These were Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution’s PATHS project to integrate local renewable energy production with energy storage and demand side management to meet local heat, power and transport needs, and Northern Powergrid’s GB Flexibility Market project to create a demand side response trading market, potentially alongside other flexibility services.