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UK awards £62m to smart grid projects

The UK energy regulator Ofgem has awarded £62 million to four smart grid projects as part of the low-carbon networks fund competition.

The aim of the four projects is to speed up the development of smart grids to meet low-carbon energy use. The funding comes from the £500m Low Carbon Networks Fund.

Lessons learnt from the smart grid initiatives will be shared with all network companies and interested parties in the UK, and will inform “the crucial investment needed in energy infrastructure to connect renewable generation and accommodate new technologies such as electric vehicles,” Ofgem says.

Stuart Cook, Ofgem Senior Partner for Smarter Grids and Governance, says: “Ofgem has identified that network companies will have to spend £32m on their pipes and wires of the next 10 years to decarbonise the energy sector. The Low Carbon Networks Fund initiatives prove that the companies are grasping the nettle and seeking innovative ways to meet the challenges that lie ahead.”

The four smart grid projects

CE Electric: Customer-led network revolution (£26.8m)

The project will explore how a combination of smart technologies and changes in customer behaviour can reduce costs associated with low-carbon technologies. It will leverage data from British Gas’ smart meter roll-out and renewable energy technologies such as solar panels and heat pumps.

UK Power Networks: Low-carbon London – a learning journey (£24.3m)

This is a ‘smart city’ initiative for London exploring how to best use new technologies and active network management. It will look at when, how and why consumers use energy and how this can be influenced. It will work on the back of several existing low-carbon projects such as the Plugged in Places Scheme which encourages the use of electric cars.

Central Networks: Low-carbon hub (£2.8m)

The smart grid project will look at ways of increasing the amount of electricity – mainly small wind – that can be connected directly to the local grid. It will monitor wind speed, generator output and network conditions.

Western Power Distribution: Low voltage Network Templates for a low-carbon future (£7.8m)

This project will examine the effect of low-carbon technologies on the grid. It aims to understand how to anticipate network behaviour and what solutions have been proven to work.

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