12 Mar 2024


£300k win for projects to help reach net zero

Electricity North West's Victoria Turnham

Major funding has been awarded to the North West to tackle decarbonisation and energy resilience challenges across the region. 

Engineers from Electricity North West will use the £300,000 funding to carry out feasibility studies into two potential ground-breaking projects which will help accelerate the region to net zero.  

The power network operator will explore in more detail two projects with the potential to bring huge cost and carbon savings to residents and businesses in the North West.  

Funding has been secured from Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) of which in the last 12 months, Electricity North West has been awarded more than £1.4m to develop and research other net zero projects it has which are still ongoing.  

Victoria Turnham, Electricity North West’s head of network innovation, said: “We’ve got a track record of developing world-leading technology right here in the North West, so it’s great to be recognised again with more funding.  

“The way people use electricity in the North West is changing and we’re seeing more customers and businesses adopt low carbon technologies such as heat pumps and electric vehicles. 

“It’s our role to ensure the network is ready and as one of the most digital electricity networks in the world, we need to constantly look at ways to operate more smartly and efficiently. 

“Both projects could provide major benefits to customers and businesses in the region, and I look forward to seeing the results.” 

One project, CoolDown, will explore the impact of increasing use of air conditioning in homes and offices and the impact on the power network. The project will explore the opportunities for flexibility to help balance electricity demand throughout the day.  

This will reduce the requirements for additional expensive infrastructure. Electricity North West will deliver this project in conjunction with Guidehouse Europe and UCL Consultants Ltd. 

A second project, LDES NODE, will analyse different types of technology, such as pumped hydro, hydrogen, compressed air and batteries to assist with long-duration energy storage (LDES).  

Once assessing the different types of technologies, the project will identify areas on the network where technology could sit, and a map of optimum locations would be created.  

Local authorities will benefit from integrating the tool in their Local Area Energy Plans (LAEPs). It will provide data-driven insights into key locations for LDES installation, aligning with broader net-zero energy plans. Electricity North West will deliver this project in conjunction with Environmental Resources Management. 

These projects are funded by energy network users and consumers through the Strategic Innovation Fund, a programme from the UK’s independent energy regulator Ofgem and managed in partnership with Innovate UK. 

The purpose of the fund is to support network innovation that will contribute to achieving net zero rapidly and at lowest cost and deliver real net benefits to network companies, energy users and consumers. It aims to work with other public funders of innovation so that activities appropriately funded by energy users and consumers are co-ordinated with activities funded by the Government.  

Electricity North West’s previous innovation projects include CLASS and Smart Street which together could save customers more than a billion pounds from their energy bills if rolled out nationally.