Britain’s energy regulator Ofgem has awarded £57 million to six smart grid projects in the second round of funding from the Low Carbon Networks Fund.
The six projects, which were the only projects entered in this funding round, have been awarded amounts ranging from just over £2 million to almost £23 million, and will run in several areas of the country.
Electricity North West Limited receives £9.1 million for a “Capacity to consumers” project, which will trial new operational techniques to release latent capacity within the existing high voltage (HV) network through combining network automation and “interruptible” contracts with large customers. The project will be implemented in northwest England.
U.K. Power Networks receives £6.7 million for its “Flexible plug and play” project, which will trial ways to improve the control of the extra HV network to connect increased volumes of wind generation and will develop an investment model for connecting renewable generation to the distribution system. The project will be implemented in Cambridgeshire.
Scottish Power Energy Networks receives £3.6 million for its “Flexible networks for a low carbon future” project, which will investigate how to obtain extra capacity from the existing HV network and improve large customer energy efficiency. The project will be implemented at three locations, St Andrews (Scotland), Wrexham (Wales) and Whitchurch (England).
Western Power Distribution receives two awards, £12.4 million for its FALCON project and £2.2 million for the BRISTOL project. The FALCON (Flexible approaches for low carbon optimized networks) project, which will be implemented in Milton Keynes, will deploy “smart” interventions on the HV network and novel commercial arrangements with customers, in order to develop an investment tool to model where these techniques can be deployed efficiently across the whole HV network. The BRISTOL (Buildings, renewables and integrated storage, with tariffs to overcome network limitations) project, which will be implemented in Bristol, will investigate the potential for battery storage in conjunction with PV solar generation to be used within homes, schools and an office to provide network and customer benefits.
SSE Power Distribution receives £22.8 million for its New Thames Valley Vision, which is primarily focussed on developing a tool to help forecast where low carbon technologies might connect to the network, and also will trial network monitoring, energy storage and novel commercial arrangements with large customers. This project will be implemented in the Bracknell area of the Thames Valley.
“Britain’s energy grids need to undergo a revolution in how they are run so they can connect more renewable generators and a range of low carbon technologies such as ground source heat pumps,”
commented Rachel Fletcher, Ofgem’s acting senior partner for Smarter Grids, Governance and Distribution.
“Lessons learnt from the projects will be shared with all network companies and other interested parties. The aim here is to ensure that the networks do not hold up the decarbonization of our energy use, and that the cost of this transition is kept as low as possible for customers.”
The Low Carbon Network Fund is making available up to £500 million over five years to trial new technology, operating and commercial arrangements which can aid the transition to a low carbon energy sector. Of this £64 million is available each year in the competitive element of the fund. Up to £80 million is also automatically available to the network operators to help fund smaller scale projects, of which 22 have received funding to date. A further £100 million is available as a discretionary award to reward projects which bring particular value in helping the networks adapt to climate change while providing security of supply and value for money to consumers.