Ten network innovation projects in the UK have secured £95.3 million ($122.3 million) of investment, focused on clean heat and zero emission transport, data and digitalisation, as well as whole system integration.
The ten ‘demonstrator’ projects have secured new funding under the beta phase – demonstrating their application after successful feasibility studies and proofs-of-concept – within Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF).
Led by energy networks alongside partners in research, tech and innovation, the UK projects include technologies delving into hydrogen integration, flexible use of energy, AI and weather data systems to predict risks and faults to enable connections to the grid for increasing amounts of offshore renewable power.
The projects include:
The CrowdFlex project, led by National Grid ESO, aims to explore household energy flexibility as a national resource to help decarbonisation.
The project will evaluate the use of flexibility over when and how energy is used to help align demand to generation, improve network coordination and reduce stress on the system.
The project aims to build a forecasting model of domestic demand and flexibility, based on large-scale consumer trials, with the objective of establishing flexibility as a resource and informing new product design.
Project partners include Amazon Web Services, Octopus Energy, OVO Energy, Element Energy, National Grid Electricity Distribution, Southern Electric Power Distribution, Centre for Net Zero and OHME Operations UK.
Under the beta phase, the project has been awarded £18.6 million ($23.9 million).
2. Digital Platform for Leakage Analytics
The Digital Platform for Leakage Analytics project, led by Cadent with Guidehouse as technology delivery partner, aims to demonstrate a prototype for how data, analytics and innovative sensors can be used to identify, locate and predict gas leaks in the gas distribution network.
The system is hoped to enable real-time alerts about critical leaks, more accurately analyse and model leakage data across the network and take quick and effective action.
Project partners include Northern Gas Networks, Wales & West Utilities, National Gas Transmission and Southern Gas Networks.
Under the beta phase, the project has been awarded £9.5 million ($12.2 million).
3. HyNTS Compression
Led by National Grid Transmission, the project will investigate the compression of hydrogen for use in energy networks.
It will test repurposing of existing compression equipment to determine if it could be used for 100% hydrogen transmission.
Project partners include Cardiff University, Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery, Northern Gas Networks, Southern Gas Networks, DNV Services UK, Premtech and Cullum Detuners.
Under the beta phase, the project has been awarded £33.3 million ($42.8 million).
4. Intelligent Gas Grid
Led by Southern Gas Networks, the project will investigate the use of weather data and AI to monitor and control gas networks, including the optimisation of pressure management, detection of faults and assisting the injection of green gas into the network.
Project partners include Cadent Gas, Northern Gas Networks, Wales & West Utilities, National Grid Gas, Utonomy and DNV Services UK.
Under the beta phase, the project has been awarded £6.1 million ($7.8 million).
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Led by SP Transmission, the project will investigate using data from historical faults, land cover, weather and surveys to improve the forecasting of network faults and risks.
Project partners include the University of Glasgow, SP Distribution, SIA Partners UK and Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution.
Under the beta phase, the project has been awarded £4.5 million ($5.8 million).
6. Predictive Safety Intervention
Led by Southern Gas Networks, the project will investigate the use of AI and data to prevent safety incidents.
Project partners include Cadent Gas, Northern Gas Networks, National Grid Gas and FYLD.
Under the beta phase, the project has been awarded £1.1 million ($1.4 million).
7. Velocity Design with Hydrogen
Led by Southern Gas Networks, the project will investigate the use of hydrogen in gas distribution networks.
Project partners include Cadent Gas, Northern Gas Networks, Wales & West Utilities, National Grid Gas, Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers and DNV Services UK.
Under the beta phase, the project has been awarded £5.9 million ($7.6 million).
8. HyNTS Deblending for Transport Applications
Led by National Grid Gas, this project will investigate the blending of hydrogen for heavy transport refuelling stations into the gas network.
Project partners include Element Energy, Cadent Gas, Northern Gas Networks, Wales & West Utilities, Southern Gas Networks, DNV Services UK, Element 2 and HyET Hydrogen B.V.
Under the beta phase, the project has been awarded £9.9 million ($12.7 million).
Led by Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission, Network-DC is investigating the connection of offshore wind to DC (direct current) networks in coastal communities.
The project will look at the use of DC breakers to allow many wind farms to connect to a DC network, reducing the number of coastal converter stations for economic and environmental benefits.
Project partners include the University of Edinburgh, Carbon Trust Advisory, National Grid ESO and the SuperGrid Institute.
Under the beta phase, the project has been awarded £5.5 million ($7 million).
Led by Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission, the Incentive project looks at technologies for managing offshore wind generation.
The project will investigate innovative control and energy storage for ancillary services in offshore wind, coupling storage with offshore wind farms to provide grid stability services, such as inertia i.e. when turbines are not generating.
Project partners include the University of Strathclyde, National Grid ESO and the Carbon Trust.
Under the beta phase, the project has been awarded £922,333 ($1.2 million).
Projects are funded progressively in three ‘agile’ stages – discovery, alpha and beta – to ensure focus on the right areas and minimise risk.
Discovery projects are short feasibility studies, alpha are longer proof-of-concept projects and beta projects are large-scale demonstrators.
The SIF programme’s second round of projects is currently underway; 53 feasibility studies have completed their initial Discovery Phase. A third round is due to open for feasibility study proposals in the autumn of 2023.
Funding will be provided incrementally and is dependent on key milestones being met.