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SSEN pockets £300,000 as just one LCNF reward is issued

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

Scottish and Southern Energy Networks (SSEN) has been granted a £300,000 reward under the Low Carbon Networks Fund for its My Electric Avenue project.

But the network operator was the only recipient of a Second Tier Reward after Ofgem’s expert panel concluded that the other eight did not qualify for a financial reward.

The three-year My Electric Avenue project, led by EA Technology, involved the artificial creation of so-called ‘clusters’ of EV users that helped SSEN better understand their potential impact on LV network demand.

The findings have helped SSEN predict what may need to happen in the future as EV penetration rises, while demand-side response technology was also trialled to assess its use in managing EV charging and mitigating network overload risks.

Furthermore, full learnings from the projects and SSEN’s other EV-focused initiatives have also contributed towards government legislation surrounding EV infrastructure.

Ofgem commended SSEN for its “notable achievement” in the work, saying it stood to be of “huge benefit to GB electricity customers”.

Stewart Reid, SSEN’s head of DSO and innovation, added: “We’re delighted the My Electric Avenue project has been recognised for its exceptional performance in influencing and informing UK legislation to ensure the transition to EVs is as smooth as possible as the country moves forward to achieve its low carbon transport ambitions.

“We continue to work with our industry partners through our Smart EV project, to make sure this fully supported transition takes place with minimal disruption to customers, avoiding unnecessary and costly network reinforcement through smart technology interventions.”

The reward was announced in a letter from Ofgem dated 14 September, setting out the regulator’s assessment process and determination for the Second Tier Reward. It stated that despite £30.5 million being made available in the STR assessment, just £300,000 was to be allocated to one out of nine projects following recommendations made by its expert panel.

The eight other projects included Scottish Power Energy Networks’ Flexible Networks scheme; Northern Powergrid’s Customer Led Network Revolution; UK Power Networks’ Flexible Plug and Play; Electricity North West’s Capacity to Customers; and four projects from Western Power Distribution, including its LV Networks Templates; Buildings, Renewables and Integrated Storage with Tariffs to Overcome network Limitations (BRISTOL); Flexible Approaches for Low Carbon Optimised Networks (FALCON): and Low Carbon Hub initiatives.

That expert panel comprised of Jo Armstrong, chair of Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition panel; David MacLeman, director at MacLeman Associates, and Julian Wayne, director at Culan Strategy.

The panel did however stress that its recommendation should not be viewed as a judgement on the “nature or utility” of their outcomes, stating that all nine had delivered “valuable outcomes and learnings that will ultimately benefit energy consumers”.

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