Ofgem announces £59.4 million funding for 10 innovation projects

Publication date
29th November 2013
Information types
Policy areas
  • 10 out of 16 innovation project bids successful
  • Innovation can help cut the cost for consumers of modernising Britain’s electricity and gas networks

Ofgem has announced funding of £59.4 million for 10 innovation projects as part of its ground-breaking innovation competitions for the network companies that transport energy around Britain.

The funding is provided under Ofgem’s three innovation competitions that aim to help make the energy networks smarter, accelerate the development of a low carbon energy sector and deliver savings to consumers. In total, there was £109 million available for the 16 projects which had applied for funding under the schemes. However, Ofgem could not be confident that all projects were sufficiently developed and able to clearly demonstrate they would provide good value to customers at this stage, resulting in six missing out on funding this year.

Successful projects this year include developing robots to help monitor and repair gas mains and improving engagement with vulnerable consumers to see how they can benefit from energy efficiency measures. A full list can be viewed via our brochure.

Hannah Nixon, Senior Partner, Distribution said: “Innovation is integral to the future development of Britain’s energy networks. Ofgem is leading the way in getting the network companies to prepare for the future through our three funding competitions. Today’s 10 successful projects show excellent partnership working with a range of organisations.

“The learnings from previous year’s innovation projects are already being shared among the industry and projects are showing real progress. I am sure that this year’s projects will continue to provide crucial learning and enable real savings to be delivered for existing and future consumers.”

Notes to editors

1. Summary of projects

This is the first year of the network innovation competitions (NICs), which make available up to £27 million of funding per year for onshore and offshore electricity transmission companies and up to £18 million for gas distribution and transmission companies. The Low Carbon Networks (LCN) Fund is in its fourth year and is worth up to £64 million per year for electricity distribution companies (DNOs)

Low Carbon Networks Fund

Project (location) Funding requested
(rounded to 1dp)
Eta: Creating Efficient Distribution Networks (Manchester, Wigan and Wigton)
A project trialling interconnection and voltage management on Low Voltage (LV) networks.
Submitted by Electricity North West Limited

£8.4m

 

Flexible Urban Network – Low Voltage (London and Brighton)
A project trialling interconnection of Low Voltage networks, to share network capacity, using three connection methods.
Submitted by London Power Networks plc and South Eastern Power Networks plc
£6.5m

Vulnerable Customers and Energy Efficiency (London)
A project aiming to trial energy efficiency and demand-side response (DSR) with fuel poor and vulnerable customers.
Submitted by London Power Networks plc

£3.3m
Solent Achieving Value from Efficiency (Solent)
A project aiming to trial targeted energy efficiency measures with domestic customers to alleviate network constraints.
Submitted by Southern Electric Power Distribution
£8.3m

Gas Network Innovation Competition

Project (location)

 

Funding requested
BioSNG Demonstration Plant (Swindon)
A project to construct a demonstration plant investigating the techno-economic feasibility of the thermal gasification of waste to produce pipeline quality renewable gas.
Submitted by National Grid Gas Distribution
£1.9m
Low Carbon Gas Preheating (North East)
A project to test new and emerging pre-heating technologies and associated operating systems.
Submitted by Northern Gas Networks
£4.8m
Opening up the Gas Market (Oban)
A project to demonstrate that EASEE specification gas, which sits outside GB standards, could be used safely and efficiently in GB.
Submitted by Scotland Gas Networks

£1.9m

 

Robotics (South East)
A project to develop new robotic technologies that operate inside live gas networks, in order to repair leaking joints, manage risk of pipe fracture in larger diameter pipes and repair and replace pipeline assets.
Submitted by Southern Gas Networks
£6.5m

Electricity Network Innovation Competition

Project (location) Funding
requested
Multi Terminal Test Environment (MTTE) (Scotland)
Establishing a collaborative centre to simulate the impact of High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC), a way of transmitting electricity over long distances, and understanding its impact on the network.
£11.3m
VISOR
Providing a new insight to the capability and dynamic performance of the system to improve network operation and planning.
£6.5

 

2. Ofgem is the Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets, which supports the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority, the regulator of the gas and electricity industries in Great Britain. The Authority's powers and duties are largely provided for in statute, principally the Gas Act 1986, the Electricity Act 1989, the Utilities Act 2000, the Competition Act 1998, the Enterprise Act 2002, the Energy Act 2004 as well as arising from directly effective European Community legislation.

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