Three infrastructure projects in Scotland have won a combined total of nearly £20 million funding from Ofgem – the UK gas and electricity markets regulator – to develop new ways to help cut costs for modernising ageing British utility networks. They are:
- Opening up the Gas Market (Oban): A pilot project to test the safety and economic feasibility of widening the gas specifications in GB by testing all gas appliances in Oban to prove the safety of putting wider standard gas into the network. Submitted by Scotland Gas Networks, the Oban project has been awarded £1.9 million)
A Scotland-wide High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) seven-year pilot to test a way of transmitting electricity over longer distances. Submitted by Scottish Hyrdo Electric, this was granted £11.3 million, and:
Project Visor – a four year project to provide new insight into improving network planning and operation in the Borders. Submitted by Scottish Power, this project was granted £6.5 million.
In total, just under £60 million was granted by Ofgem to 10 successful innovation project bids, including the three in Scotland.
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 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.
Hannah Nixon, Ofgem’s Senior Partner, Distribution said: “Britain’s energy mix is changing and the way our gas and electricity networks operate needs to change too. Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks (LCN) Fund and Network Innovation Competitions (NICs) provide essential backing to innovative projects such as this to help make the energy networks smarter, accelerate the development of a low carbon energy sector and delivering financial benefits to consumers.”