The funding, which is designed to make distribution smarter and deliver financial benefits to consumers, comes from the Low Carbon Networks (LCN) Fund, now in its third year.

Aimed at encouraging and enabling companies to trial new technology which can aid the transition to a low carbon energy sector, the fund will make available up to £500m over five years.

Ofgem senior partner for distribution Hannah Nixon said: “The energy mix and technology is changing and the way networks operate has to change too – that’s why Ofgem set up the ground-breaking LCN Fund three years ago.

“By promoting investment in innovation now we can help avoid problems and expensive fixes in the future.

“The first projects are starting to provide valuable learning. This is being shared across the industry and more widely, which is one of the main objectives of the scheme. While it is still early days for the LCN Fund it is clear there is excellent progress being made.”

Projects that have been awarded the funding this year include Western Power Distribution’s which will investigate, measure, monitor and mitigate Fault Level, an issue that can limit the connection of distributed generation.

The £13.5m project could help make the connection of distributed generation, such as local solar panels and wind turbines, cheaper and faster.

Southern Electric Power Distribution and EA Technology won funding to trial a UK-wide technology that will allow a cluster of electric vehicles to recharge without stressing the distribution system.

Other successful bids have come from projects that examine the most cost effective use of batteries for storing electricity and projects that explore ways of managing the network more efficiently by controlling voltage.

Conor McGlone

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