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Electric vehicle and distributed Black Start projects land Ofgem innovation funding

Image: Chargepoint.

Image: Chargepoint.

Ofgem has handed more than £45 million to the winners of this year’s Network Innovation Competition, helping bring more innovative technologies to the fore.

Four projects – three focused on power and one on gas – have shared £46.8 million of funding after being picked from a variety of those to have participated in the competition, designed specifically to support projects aiming to further the adoption of new and emerging technologies.

The three electricity-focused projects to receive funding are;

Black Start from Distributed Energy Resources – National Grid Electricity Transmission System Operator

National Grid has been awarded £10.27 million to develop and demonstrate technical, organisational and commercial arrangements that will be necessary to procure black start services – necessary to reboot part or all of the transmission grid in the result of a failure without needing external sources – using distributed energy. The project is to complete a minimum of two live trials in SP Energy Networks’ area.


Proposed by SP Manweb, the Charge project is to combine transport planning and network mapping in order to allow developers to identify where EV charge point installations would be most beneficial. Network companies would also be able to use the system to anticipate demand as EV adoption accelerates. The project has been awarded £6.85 million of funding.

Optimise Prime

£16.4 million of funding has been granted to this project which professes to be the world’s largest commercial EV trial, involving the likes of UK Power Networks, SPEN, Centrica, Uber and Hitachi. Data gathered from the trial will help analyse the impact of EV uptake and identify potential mitigation strategies.

One project from Western Power Distribution, which sought £11.1 million to test a flexible connection system that could be a cost-effective alternative to the current lowest cost connection, was rejected.

Jonathan Brearley, executive director for systems and networks at Ofgem, said: “This year’s Network Innovation Competitions will help network companies to react quickly to these changes in the most effective and lowest cost way.

“As the energy system continues to transform, it is vital that network companies incorporate innovation which benefits consumers into their daily working practices. We also want to see increased collaboration on innovation projects, making it easier for non-network businesses with new approaches and technologies to help facilitate the changes that the system will require.”


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