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£400k Ofgem fund to help shape Britain's net zero transition

4C Offshore | Chloe Emanuel
By: Chloe Emanuel 19/03/2024 National Grid

Research into monitoring systems for offshore cables and an initiative to support the decarbonisation of rural areas are among the National Grid-led innovation projects to be funded through the latest stage of Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF).

Three projects across National Grid’s electricity transmission and distribution networks have secured almost £400,000 to fund feasibility studies as part of the SIF’s discovery phase, which backs the most promising innovations that could accelerate the net zero transition.

National Grid Electricity Transmission (ET) has been awarded £135,000 for one project – HIRE – that will research new ways to monitor the health of cables in future hybrid AC/DC networks, with a view to spotting issues in offshore links earlier and avoiding unplanned outages.

The project could come up with a new system to overcome current monitoring limitations associated with longer HVDC cable routes, boosting network reliability and ensuring maximum use of clean energy as grids become more and more interconnected using HVDC technology.

National Grid ET will also be collaborating on several other partner-led SIF-funded initiatives, notably with the electricity system operator (ESO) on a £150,000 project to create a model to help better understand the impact of future energy scenarios on the system.

The latest funding means National Grid ET and ED have successfully led 14 projects through the SIF programme – seven across each network – since the scheme started in 2021, with a total of £4 million worth of funding backing these net zero innovation initiatives.

National Grid’s networks currently have three innovation projects in the scheme's alpha phase, having been funded to progress from the original discovery stage. All projects are funded by network users and consumers under the SIF programme, which is managed by Ofgem in partnership with UKRI. New energy projects received £5.8 million in total in the latest round of the SIF. Full details of the funding announcement can be found on the UKRI website.

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