Ofgem has allocated £46.8m to energy networks so that they can trial new ways of keeping local and national power grids stable and determine how higher blends of hydrogen might work in the gas grid.
The regulator invites bids for innovation trials each year from network companies so that they can try new approaches to managing their infrastructure. The aim is to develop new technologies and ways of working that enable a smarter, more cost effective energy system.
This year UK Power Networks (£16.4m), Scottish Power Energy Networks (£6.85m), National Grid ESO (£10.27m) and Cadent (£13.28m) got the nod.
UKPN and SPEN’s trials concentrate on EV charging. National Grid ESO’s looks at how it might use distribution connected generators, such as small engines, batteries and potentially renewables, to reboot the power system in the event of total failure. That service is called ‘black start’ and is currently worth a lot of money to big power stations.
Cadent will spend the money furthering its hydrogen trial at Keele University. The gas network operator is keen to determine whether its assets and household and commercial appliances could be switched to hydrogen, or higher blends of hydrogen and natural gas.
The Hydeploy trial is of significant interest to gas network companies given the value of their asset base and the need to decarbonise heat.
See details of the trials here.