WPD launches Net Zero innovations appeal


Hot on the heels of last night’s royally-endorsed Earthshot contest, Britain’s biggest power distributor today launches its own appeal for clean tech ideas, seeking low carbon innovations.

Western Power Distribution this morning shouted out its ‘call for ideas’ to winkle out projects capable of advancing its learnings in key areas:

  • decarbonisation
  • Net Zero
  • electrifying heat and transport
  • increasing the use and accessibility of data
  • support for communities and vulnerable customers

These priorities form the backbone of WPD’s innovation strategy.  If successful, projects will be funded by the National Grid’s Network Innovation Allowance (NIA).   To date, WPD has worked on 26 NIA projects totalling investment of more than £30 million.

These include Take Charge, a project to deliver rapid charging at motorway service stations.  This solution can shrink a substation used to power a small town to the size of just two shipping containers for use at motorway service stations.

As part of its EPIC project (Energy Planning Integrated with Councils), WPD is working with local authorities to develop a process to create Local Energy Plans.

These plans will be used to build a more holistic view of the energy needs of local authorities and help to channel network investment more effectively.

WPD’s innovation manager Yiango Mavrocostanti, said: “Innovation is at the heart of our business and is key to driving improvements for our customers and achieving net zero.

“We hope this latest call for ideas will help us to identify partners and projects to advance our learning and deliver the low carbon outcomes we want to see for all our customers.”

The call for ideas runs until Friday 5 November.

Winning electrolyser innovators Enapter and its founder Vaitea Cowan, with their trophy after last night’s Earthshot prize ceremony run by HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and the Royal Foundation

Unrelated to WPD’s appeal today, Enapter, a producer of low-cost, scalable and standardised electrolysers of green hydrogen, based on anion exchange membrane (AEM) technology, was among winners in environmental innovation at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Earthshot contest last night at London’s Alexandra Palace.

South Pacific islander Vaitea Cowan founded Enapter in 2018.   The firm now has bases in Russia, Germany, Thailand and Italy.  Its generators are already used by customers in more than 40 countries.


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