UK Power Networks receives major innovation funding boost

K Power Networks receives major innovation funding boost

More than a dozen high profile innovation projects have been given the green light after UK Power Networks secured funding from industry regulator, Ofgem. 

The latest round of Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), delivered in partnership with Innovate UK, has seen 13 UK Power Networks’ projects given the go-ahead, with funding to the value of more than £6.2 million. 

UK Power Networks’ projects, which represent over a quarter of all schemes awarded funding by the regulator, support the ongoing decarbonisation of the UK’s heat and transport sectors. Having completed their initial discovery phase findings, these projects have now been selected to head into active development. 

Among the initiatives, UK Power Networks has placed a special impetus on supporting communities most at risk of being left behind in the low-carbon transition. 

Project Guidelight will seek to address the low adoption rates of time-of-use tariffs and digital technologies among low-income and vulnerable households, whereas Project SHIELD (Smart Heat and Intelligent Energy in Low-Income Districts) will look to deploy new methods for installing low carbon technologies, making the decarbonisation of heat and energy affordable and accessible for consumers in vulnerable circumstances. 

These projects help make up a strong pipeline of innovative ideas helping enable everyone to transition to a low-carbon economy. Other projects include: 

  • Connectrolyser: Aiming to scale hydrogen electrolyser hub development, speeding up new connections and supporting the transition to net zero.
  • Heat risers: An innovative heating project aiming to accelerate the decarbonisation of multi-occupancy buildings and reduce costs for all, using whole building solutions.
  • Park and flex: Exploring the vehicle to grid capabilities in short, medium and long-stay carparks.
  • Full circle: Aiming to make low carbon heating affordable for vulnerable and hard to reach customers by working with heat network developers, property developers and more to improve efficiency and cut costs.

Ian Cameron, Director of Customer Service and Innovation at UK Power Networks, says, “This is an enormous show of support from our regulator. The Strategic Innovation Fund is an incredible opportunity for networks to scale up their decarbonisation efforts, and we firmly support the continued investment in innovation and the benefits it brings to our communities. 

“We, alongside innovative minds from across our industry, are focused on unlocking greater value, helping our customers to lower their energy bills and accelerate the UK’s low-carbon transition.” 

Launched in 2021, the fund is expected to invest £450 million by 2026. Delivered in partnership with Innovate UK, the SIF programme taps into the best of UK and international innovation and aims to align with other public innovation funding for the benefit of customers across the UK. 

As part of the industry’s new price control period, the SIF funding mechanism enables system operators, transmission and distribution companies, to work in partnership alongside independent innovators. The 2023 round of funding is the first time distribution network companies have been given access to take part. 

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