05 Jul 2023

Net zero North West

The role of innovation in net zero


Electricity North West is leading the way in energy innovation. We continually develop ground-breaking solutions, driven by both the changing needs of our customers, the challenges and opportunities involved in reaching a low carbon future, and the energy system transition that is required to enable it. 

During our previous price control period, ED1, we developed two world-leading innovations right here in the North West, to meet the necessity of increasing capacity and reducing cost:

  • CLASS - is a low cost, low carbon, balancing solution that is already helping the UK’s system operator reduce spikes in demand and balance the network. It has been proven to be complimentary to renewable generation, energy storage and market demand solutions and is uniquely placed to deliver low cost and zero carbon system security for customers.

  • Smart street – using innovative voltage control technology, Smart Street enables our network and customers’ appliances to perform more efficiently and make it easier for low carbon technologies to connect to the network. We have been allocated £76m of funding for additional 1000 Smart Street sites to be rolled out across ED2 (2023 to 2028). Work has already commenced on this substantial programme across a number of our teams.

CLASS and Smart Street show off our innovative credentials in tackling the industry’s fundamental challenges, and we have lots more ideas in the pipeline and in development.

The two largest ‘live’ projects we are working on are QUEST and BiTraDER, both funded through Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition from both 2020 (Quest) and 2021 (BiTraDER).

  • QUEST - will identify and trial new methods to integrate and optimise the techniques in use across the whole distribution system. As well as boosting the benefits of existing voltage management techniques, the new control system will: ensure the network operates as efficiently as possible, optimising voltage and reducing losses; facilitate the increased connection and use of low carbon technologies; increase benefits to customers through energy consumption reduction and maintain security of electricity supply.
  • BiTraDER - this £8.4m, four-year project will support and add value to the emerging flexibility market. The project aims to reduce barriers to the connection of low carbon generation and bring down whole system costs. It will result in live trialling on the network of a bilateral trading market, via which large, connected customers can trade their position according to the order they are asked to curtail their output at times of high demand.

Take a look at our innovation strategy and programme for more information, including how innovation will support our ED2 Business plan.