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Press releases

    • Ofgem approves £57 million for projects paving the way for smarter grids

      Energy regulator Ofgem has today announced that six projects are to share £57 million of funding to help local power networks become smarter. The money comes from Ofgem‟s £500 million Low Carbon Networks Fund (LCN Fund).

      The projects will run in several areas across Britain, piloting new technology and commercial arrangements. They will create learning which will be shared amongst all local grid companies so they can develop the networks of the future. Innovation could reduce the need to invest in new network assets such as substations or overhead lines by making better use of those which are already there.

      Rachel Fletcher, Ofgem‟s Acting Senior Partner for Smarter Grids, Governance and Distribution, said: “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. There is a significant opportunity for companies to contain the cost of this transition by making better use of existing capacity and exploring the scope to use demand side response.

      “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 decarbonisation of our energy use, and that the cost of this transition is kept as low as possible for customers.”

      One of the projects involves installing electric storage batteries in homes, schools and an office to see if customers could be encouraged to use this stored electricity at times of peak demand. This would reduce the load on the networks and mean customers would be rewarded with lower bills.

      Another project involves using network capacity which up to now, has only been used in the event of outages due to power cuts or planned maintenance. This „latent‟ capacity could be used to connect more renewables without impacting on secure supplies. Several projects involve better use of existing network capacity to manage congestion on the grid, or looking at how more low carbon generation can be connected without having to build new power lines.
    • Power operator responds to future demand with new £5.5m trial

      The region’s power network operator, Electricity North West, is set to launch a new pioneering trial to help meet the future demand in electricity without the need to build costly new infrastructure.

      The Respond trial, which has won £5.5m funding, including £4.5m from the government’s energy regulator, Ofgem, will help make sure that customers in the North West continue to enjoy a reliable power supply to their homes and businesses and keep bills as low as possible.

      Demand for electricity is set to grow significantly in the low carbon future as we start to use more solar panels, electric vehicles and heat pumps. Respond is a revolutionary solution which will help meet this extra demand and safeguard the electricity network for the future.

      Steve Johnson, CEO of Electricity North West, said: “The Respond trial will allow us to explore new techniques to get more from our existing network. This will ensure customers across the North West continue to get the power they need without us having to invest in new expensive infrastructure resulting in lower costs for our customers.”

      It’s estimated that the cost of upgrading the UK electricity network by building more infrastructure to meet future demand could be as much as £1.8 billion by 2025 in the North West alone and £15 billion across Great Britain – the equivalent of almost £600 for every household.

      Electricity North West will work on the project with partners including ABB, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Schneider Electric, Impact Research, ENER-G and Combined Heat and Power Association.

      chnology Strategy Manager, said, “We look forward to working with the project partners on this important trial and the opportunity to demonstrate how cost effective technologies are able to help reduce the costs of electricity network operation. If successful, wider implementation of these technologies and systems has the potential to deliver significant value for customers in the North West and the rest of the UK.”
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