Mark Lane

Member Article

£54m smart grid project completes first pilot stage

The UK’s largest ‘smart grid’ project has completed the first stage of its research into electricity consumption after establishing a series of on-going trials with 12,000 customers in Yorkshire and other areas across the North East.

Led by Northern Powergrid, the electricity distribution network operator for the North East and Yorkshire, the £54m Customer-Led Network Revolution (CLNR) project is testing a number of innovative solutions to ensure Britain’s electricity networks are fit for the future and ready for mass uptake of low carbon technologies, such as solar PV, heat pumps and electric vehicles.

Government targets to cut carbon emissions by 34% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 will help the UK reduce its carbon footprint and establish a low carbon economy, but achieving these targets will largely depend on low carbon technologies being adopted on a nationwide scale.

As many of these are electricity-dependent, the additional demand created will mean that electricity networks across the UK need to become ‘smarter’ to accommodate Britain’s changing energy requirements and help accelerate the development of a low carbon energy sector.

Dr Liz Sidebotham, communications manager for the CLNR project said: “Yorkshire and North East is really leading the way with this project, preparing for the widespread uptake of low carbon technologies by carrying out ground-breaking trials with thousands of customers and testing innovative new technology on the electricity network.

“Through these trials we’ve seen early signs that customers are happy to change their usual daily routines - putting their dishwasher on overnight instead of during the day for example - to benefit from a cheaper tariff.

“This is hugely important because achieving a degree of customer flexibility in significant numbers is a win-win situation; offering customers a way to save money and network operators a means of cost-effectively reducing network demand at peak times.”

Northern Powergrid is working with British Gas, EA Technology and Durham Energy Institute to complete the CLNR project and will continue to study electricity consumption and test pioneering new equipment across electricity networks in the North East and Yorkshire regions throughout 2013.

The findings from all CLNR trials are being shared with other electricity distribution network operators across the UK and on the project’s website to help the energy industry prepare for the low carbon future.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Mark Lane .

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