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Nearly £1million awarded to SP Energy Networks through Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund

13/10/2023

SP Energy Networks has been awarded almost £1million through Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) to progress with two innovative projects that will help shape the future electricity grid.

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  • SP Energy Networks has been awarded funding to progress with two innovative new projects through Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund
  • Nearly £500,000 has been awarded to support Blade, a project demonstrating how offshore wind farms can be used to restore the electricity grid in the event of a black start
  • The rest of the funding has been awarded to D-suite which looks at applying high voltage technology to the low voltage grid, supporting the move to low carbon technologies

The electricity network operator’s Blade project has been awarded over £495,000 to demonstrate how offshore wind farms can be used to restore the electricity grid in the event of a black start. A task that is currently performed by fossil fuel generation, this project aims to prove that offshore renewable generation can effectively and efficiently restart the grid and get power flowing back into UK homes in the event of a black start.

Scott Mathieson, Network Planning and Regulation Director at SP Energy Networks, said: “We’re delighted continue leading the way towards the future of the electricity system to enable a cleaner and greener future – and this has been recognised by Ofgem. These projects will allow us to continue innovating to deliver a smart and resilient grid that will help us achieve net zero."

Eric Leavy of SP Energy Networks explains: “As more renewable projects are delivered across the UK, we need to show how green electricity generation can perform all the roles that fossil fuel generation has traditionally held. Proving the concept of our Blade project will demonstrate how offshore renewables can and should be used to provide restoration services to the grid and we’re pleased to be able to take this project forward to the next phase.”

Whilst one project is looking at restarting the grid, SP Energy Networks’ other project is hoping to show how capacity on its distribution network can be increased to make room for more low carbon technologies without the need for major investment and infrastructure changes.

Together with partners UKPN and Newcastle and Cardiff Universities, the D-Suite project will explore the feasibility of deploying new applications of proven High Voltage power-electronic technology onto the Low Voltage distribution network. Using this technology, the capacity on the distribution network is expected to increase by between 20% and 40% without traditional reinforcement. This now freed up capacity on the network can then be used to support SP Energy Networks customers’ move to low carbon technologies.

Iain Divers of SP Energy Networks added: “The D-Suite project is vital to showing how we can free up space within the distribution network to allow our customers to adopt low carbon technologies like electric vehicles and heat pumps without having to undertake traditional reinforcement work. Proving the concept of this project will help our customers achieve their own Net Zero goals faster, all the while helping to keep down costs to the consumer.”

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