Ofgem has announced the winners of its 2018 network innovation competitions with four projects set to share funding of £46.8 million.
Projects testing how networks will manage demand from commercial fleets of electric vehicles and incorporate hydrogen on the gas grid are among those that have been awarded funding.
Each year network companies submit bids for funding to develop and test new technologies or approaches which could help to cut the costs of the energy system for consumers.
The funding comes from the price controls Ofgem sets for network companies. The controls determine the cost consumers pay for the networks on their bills.
The projects and winning bidders are:
- Trialling and gathering data on the charging patterns of different commercial fleets of electric vehicles (UK Power Networks).
- Plotting the ideal locations for electric vehicle charging points, including testing of on street charging and charge points in other locations including the work place and shopping centres (SP Energy Networks).
- Further testing of blending hydrogen with natural gas supplied to homes and businesses with a view to deploying it across Britain's gas networks (Cadent).
- Trialling new ways of enhancing electricity security of supply (National Grid, the electricity system operator).
Jonathan Brearley (pictured), Ofgem's executive director for systems and networks, said: "Millions of us will be driving electric vehicles in future. There is also significant potential for using hydrogen blended gas to help decarbonise how we heat the country's homes and businesses.
"This year's Network Innovation Competitions will help network companies to react quickly to these changes in the most effective and lowest cost way. As the energy system continues to transform, it is vital that network companies incorporate innovation which benefits consumers into their daily working practices. We also want to see increased collaboration on innovation projects, making it easier for non-network businesses with new approaches and technologies to help facilitate the changes that the system will require."
For more detail on the projects see the decision document.