The UK’s energy network companies have joined forces in a bid to unlock “exciting opportunities for the UK to benefit from new energy technologies such as battery storage, local renewable electricity generation and low-carbon heat sources such as biomethane and hydrogen.”
To this end, the energy network companies have launched plans for their first joint network innovation strategy. Under current regulations, the companies are incentivised to carry out projects that will help create smarter energy grids, reduce carbon emissions and deliver financial benefits to customers, such as battery storage and testing smarter heating systems in the home. Other examples include biomethane gases generated from household waste, the feasibility of converting the gas grid to hydrogen, and considering how UK regulations could accommodate a wider range of low carbon gases.
In their new plans, the companies set out how they will develop an Electricity Network Innovation Strategy and a Gas Network Innovation Strategy. The overall aim is to ensure that whole-energy system benefits are realised by sharing lessons learnt from projects undertaken, demonstrating value for money and how to integrate those lessons into day-to-day operations.
The companies will consult with technology developers, policymakers, academics and other stakeholders to ensure all have their say in shaping the strategies before they are submitted to Ofgem in March 2018.
David Smith, CEO of trade body Energy Networks Association, said:
“Network companies are already using innovation projects to drive forward network performance, deliver better value for money and find new ways to harness the potential of energy technologies. These strategies will ensure that both the networks and the customers get the most out of those projects.
“But that is only one side of the network innovation coin. The other side is about how we harness the potential of energy technologies to enable new markets and provide new opportunities for consumers to have greater control of their energy bills and reduce their costs.”