UK to invest billions in infrastructure including smart meters


The government’s “infrastructure-investment pipeline”, detailing a record 500 billion pounds ($634 billion) will be allocated toward smart meters, Thames Tideway Tunnel and upgrading the A14 highway in eastern England.

According to Bloomberg, the UK government’s investment is behind about 40% of the pipeline after Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced plans for a 23 billion pound National Productivity Investment Fund last month. [UK’s ‘Smart Power’ call to boost smart network development]

Chief secretary to the Treasury David Gauke told Bloomberg, “It is clear proof that we are absolutely committed to ensure our infrastructure is fit for the future.

“[That’s] at the heart of our ambitious plans to close the UK’s productivity gap and build a fair economy for everyone.”

Bloomberg adds that private finance makes up more than half of the pipeline to 2020-21, helping to deliver projects ranging from transport and broadband to flood defences and housing.

Improving productivity through targeted investment was the key aim set out by Hammond in an attempt to prepare the British economy for any shocks from Brexit. He announced an increase in borrowing to finance the cost.

UK smart grid

In related news, UK regulator Ofgem announced that it has commited £44.6 million ($56.3 million) in funding toward smart grid pilot projects to boost reliability of the UK’s gas and electricity networks.

The smart grid funding will be used for the implementation of six utility pilot projects under the regulator’s Network Innovation Competition (NIC) programme.

Through the NIC programme, Ofgem promotes the development and adoption of innovative grid technologies and services to make the UK energy system ‘smarter’.

The programme aims to unite the utility, government and private sectors in research, development, testing and adoption of low-carbon grid technologies.

The NIC initiative was introduced in 2013 to replace the Low Carbon Networks Fund, and aims to help utility firms optimise their operations and improve their customer services.

The pilot projects will be deployed by utilities National Grid, Western Power Distribution, UK Power Networks and the Scottish Power.  [Ofgem commits £44.6m for utility smart grid pilots]