Six projects across the UK have been earmarked for £57 million of funding to help discover ways in which to make power networks smarter. Ofgem wants the money to help trial innovative projects, in order to ease the transition to a low carbon economy.
The money comes from Ofgem’s £500 million Low Carbon Networks Fund (LCN Fund), set up to encourage and enable companies to trial new technology, with money up for grabs up until 2015.
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.