UK Invests £400K For National Grid Innovation Projects Under Ofgem Fund

Highlights :

  • They undertook this initiative to undertake research into monitoring systems for offshore cables and to support the decarbonization of rural areas.
UK Invests £400K For National Grid Innovation Projects Under Ofgem Fund UK Invests £400k For National Grid Innovation Projects Under Ofgem Fund

National Grid Electricity Transmission (ET) a UK-based organisation that maintains high-voltage electricity networks in England was recently awarded £135,000 for a project. This project was undertaken to research new ways to monitor the health of cables in future hybrid AC/DC networks, spot issues in offshore links early, and avoid unplanned outages.

They undertook this initiative to undertake research into monitoring systems for offshore cables and to support the decarbonization of rural areas. It’s among the other national grid-led innovation projects to be funded through the latest stage of Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF). It undertook three projects across National Grid’s electricity transmission and distribution networks. It secured almost £400,000 to fund feasibility studies as part of the SIF’s discovery phase, which backs the most promising innovations that could accelerate the net zero transition.

The project is expected to come up with a new system to overcome current monitoring limitations associated with longer HVDC cable routes, boosting network reliability and ensuring maximum use of clean energy as grids become more and more interconnected using HVDC technology. National Grid ET also collaborated on several other partner-led SIF-funded initiatives, notably with the electricity system operator (ESO) on a £150,000 project to create a model to help better understand the impact of future energy scenarios on the system.

National Grid networks currently have three innovation projects in the scheme’s alpha phase, having been funded to progress from the original discovery stage. Network users and consumers fund all projects under the SIF program, which Ofgem manages in partnership with UKRI. New energy projects received £5.8 million in total in the latest round of the SIF. Full details of the funding announcement can be found on the UKRI website.

Sean Coleman, Strategic Innovation Fund Manager at National Grid ET, said, “These projects across our networks are exciting additions to National Grid’s wide-ranging innovation portfolio, and are great examples of how we’re thinking ambitiously and collaborating with partners across the industry to support Britain’s net zero transition, while keeping costs down for consumers.”
National Grid Electricity Distribution (ED) has been awarded almost £260,000 for two projects.”

The Rural Energy and Community Heat (REACH) project aims to help rural communities decarbonize quickly. Funding worth nearly £117,000 will enable ED to initially understand the priorities of community energy groups and also develop practical solutions so they can access low-carbon technologies more quickly than alternative means.

The REACH team will work with innovative suppliers to develop shipping container-sized rural energy centers. These prefabricated units will contain standardized equipment that can be easily sited within communities to enable the connection of heat pumps, electric vehicle chargers, and renewable generation.

On Ofgem funding of National grid, ED’s Laurence Hunter, Innovation Engineer for REACH, said:

“The advantage of a modular rural energy center is it can offer communities shared low-carbon heating, rapid EV charging, and renewable generation in an area where otherwise they might have to wait for the network to be upgraded or where commercial markets may not serve customers. The modular approach has been used to charge electric vehicles and this funding will enable us to see if we can extend this concept and provide extra functionality.”

A second ED project, Road to Power, won more than £140,000 to look at how networks can support the street and roadworks sector and the use of electric equipment like excavators and pavers. The project will assess forecast future consumption and explore different electrification pathways and infrastructure needs. It will then create online tools to help roadworks contractors obtain temporary grid connections while helping networks forecast the impact of temporary works on their infrastructure.
Jenny Woodruff,

National Grid Electricity Distribution’s Innovation Manager for the Midlands, said, “As well as empowering informed decision-making and ensuring a reliable energy supply for customers, the tools will support the sector’s transition to net zero emissions while maintaining efficient network operation and planning.”

The latest funding means National Grid ET and ED have successfully led 14 projects through the SIF program – seven across each network – since the scheme started in 2021, with a total of £4 million worth of funding backing these net zero innovation initiatives.

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