First Minister celebrates energy innovation as an invaluable opportunity

For immediate release – 25 October 2012

Challenges to our energy future are well documented and one of the ongoing success stories to address this is the Low Carbon Networks Fund – the progress of which has been highlighted today by politicians, industry and the regulator as part of its Annual Conference run by Energy Networks Association (ENA) and co-hosted by Western Power Distribution.

Speaking about the LCN Fund, Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said:

“We all know the end goal of a low carbon future, but there are many uncertainties such as managing increased renewable connections, storage of energy and demand side management.

“The research and development projects which will be discussed over the two days of this conference will play an important role in ensuring we have reliable and effective networks in the future. It provides an invaluable opportunity to provide security of supply at value for money as we move towards a low carbon economy.”

He also highlighted innovation in Wales:

“Wales has a strong, highly-competitive energy performance industry comprising an excellent SME base. We are also at the forefront of innovation, research and development in this field. The Welsh Government is committed to innovation and Wales has a strong innovation base.”

The First Minister was speaking alongside Hannah Nixon, Senior Partner for Distribution at Ofgem, who said:

“The Low Carbon Network Fund is driving innovation that will help make sure our energy networks are at the cutting edge of delivering value for consumers. It is early days, but we’re clearly seeing excellent progress. This conference is crucial to maximise the potential of the fund and puts the emphasis on dissemination of the learning.”

Opening the conference, ENA Chief Executive David Smith said:

“The networks are the linchpin to our future and without the impressive and extensive innovation projects presented here nothing of what we’re trying to achieve would be possible.

“ENA are delighted to deliver this conference on behalf of DECC and Ofgem. It encapsulates our desire to spread the message of the vital work that networks deliver towards a lower carbon energy future. This conference is unparalleled in its opportunity to showcase engineering innovation in our industry”

The LCN Fund is an annual competition run by the energy regulator Ofgem to enable research and development to look at how to innovate and adapt the electricity networks for the future. The fund makes available up to £500m over the five years of the competition for projects. It is unique across Europe and is revered by the industry around the world.

ENDS

Notes to edito

The Low Carbon Network Fund Conference is being held at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff on Thursday 25 and Friday 26 October 2012. Delegates will be tweeting using #LCNF2012 and @EnergyNetworks will be tweeting content throughout.

Ofgem announced the Low Carbon Networks Fund (LCN Fund) in August 2009 which runs from April 2010 to March 2015. The fund will make available up to £500 million over the five years, encouraging and enabling the companies to trial new technology, operating and commercial arrangements which can aid the transition to a low carbon energy sector. £64 million funding is available each year in the competitive element of the fund and a further £80 million is available over the five years to help fund smaller scale projects. A further £100 million is available over the five years as a discretionary award to reward projects which bring particular value in helping the networks adapt to climate change while providing security of supply and value for money to consumers.

ENA represents the ‘wires and pipes’ transmission and distribution network operators for gas and electricity in the UK and Ireland.

Tim Field MCIPR,
Head of Press and Public Affairs
Energy Networks Association
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