Smarter Networks could save electricity customers £11bn

For immediate release – Wednesday 7 November 2012

A new report has highlighted the potential for billions of pounds to be saved if ‘smart’ solutions are implemented on the UK electricity network. It reinforces the fact that a smarter network is critical to delivering a low carbon future affordably, securely and sustainably.

The report, ‘Assessing the impact of Low Carbon Technologies on Great Britain’s Power Distribution Networks’ was commissioned by Energy Networks Association (ENA) on behalf of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the industry regulator Ofgem through their jointly chaired Smart Grid Forum.

It is the first of its kind and integrates modelling of low carbon technologies with their likely networks implications out to 2050.

The model, created in the report and developed by EA Technology Limited (EATL), will enable the distribution network operators to map different scenarios for the uptake of technologies such as electric vehicles, heat pumps or photo-voltaic/solar panels. This can help evaluate the best and cheapest network solutions to minimise the increased cost of wires and pylons to homes and businesses.

Sandy Sheard, Head of Future Electricity Networks at DECC said:

“This exciting new work draws together expertise and leadership from industry, government and the regulator and marks a crucial milestone in realising a smarter network that delivers value for money for consumers. The analysis will reduce investor uncertainty and help ensure that networks cost-efficiently integrate the new low carbon technologies that are needed to meet our security and low carbon objectives.”

ENA Chief Executive David Smith said:

“This groundbreaking report into future-proofing the UK’s energy infrastructure looks, for the first time, at the implications of low carbon policy and enables the network operators to effectively plan for the most cost-efficient solutions. Adapting the network for increased diversity and demand is the biggest challenge since the grid was created 70 years ago.

Conventional solutions are more suited to communities built close to the power station that serves them. Speaking about the change in our energy source and consumption, David Smith went on to say:

“Energy is absolutely vital to our day-to-day lives. Modern energy generation is much more diverse from remote wind farms to solar panels on the roofs of houses. To manage this, smart solutions won’t replace conventional technologies but are an essential complement to them.”

Dave Roberts, Sustainable Networks Director at EATL, said:

“If the uptake of low carbon technologies is relatively modest, the cost could be as little as £7bn if the industry is allowed to start investing in smart grid solutions now. The most realistic scenario is around £13 billion, with medium low carbon uptake and a combination of network reinforcement and a smart grid.

“Our report is built on a range of scenarios and is designed to help the industry and government work together to agree an optimum long term investment strategy.”

The framework and model established in the report is not the end of the Smart Grid Forum’s work. As more data about the impact of new technologies and their uptake becomes available the model will be adapted to provide an ongoing tool for policymakers and the industry.

The Smart Grid Forum will be hosting a public dissemination event at The Rubens Hotel, 39 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0PS on Monday 12 November 2012, provisionally 10.30-15.30.

Those who wish to attend the event should send their details to David Spillett at Energy Networks Association, 52 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2AF, [email protected], 0207 706 5124.


Notes to editors

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

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

EA Technology Limited is an independent power engineering specialist and co-authored the report along with GL Noble Denton, Element Energy, Chiltern Power and Frontier Economics.

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

For further information please contact:

Tim Field MCIPR,
Press and Public Affairs Executive
Energy Networks Association
E: [email protected]
T: +44 (0)207 706 5157
M: +44 (0)7725 372 758

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