Electricity network group handed £8m to trial new technology

An innovative new project by Electricity North West to boost energy capacity and help cut carbon emissions has been awarded nearly £8m in funding by energy regulator, Ofgem.

Quest is a new scheme designed by Stockport-based Electricity North West to find a green way of managing the peaks and troughs of power supply caused by surges in demand and the move towards more variable, renewable forms of electricity generation.

Now the company, which operates the electricity network across the North West, has been awarded £7.95m by energy regulator Ofgem to support a trial of the scheme.

The project works by automatically monitoring and managing the voltage levels of the electricity network during times of peak demand or low supply, without compromising those parts that are sensitive to fluctuations, such as some advanced manufacturing and other industrial customers.

The money will allow Electricity North West to further develop the design of the system, before implementing the technology required and trialling the scheme, while engaging with customers to secure their feedback.

Dan Randles, head of network innovation at Electricity North West, said: “To help meet its decarbonisation targets, the Government is encouraging customers to take up more and more low carbon alternatives to heat their homes and power their cars.

“This is resulting in additional demand on our network, requiring us to develop advanced voltage management techniques which will help ensure customers get the power they need.

“The funding we’ve been awarded is crucial for allowing us to trial a highly innovative system to coordinate existing technology on our network.

“Through optimisation, Quest will boost the benefits currently available and enable people and businesses in the North West to embrace low carbon technologies helping to cut emissions and support the transition to net zero.”

The award was made as part of Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition, which was set up to encourage innovation in the energy sector and support the transition to a net zero carbon emissions economy.

Electricity North West is currently investing £63.5m in the region’s electricity network as part of its Leading the North West to Zero Carbon plan to boost capacity ahead of the transition to green technologies, such as electric vehicles and heating.