Future of Britain’s power networks

UK Power Networks will be among the companies sharing information at the second annual Low Carbon Networks Fund (LCNF) conference at the Wales Millennium Centre on Thursday and Friday. The LCNF conference is run by Energy Networks Association on behalf of Ofgem.
From press releases - 22 October 2012 09:00 AM

Electrical engineering experts will be gathering in Cardiff this week to discuss innovative plans to revolutionalise Britain’s electricity distribution networks to enable a low carbon future.

UK Power Networks will be among the companies sharing information at the second annual Low Carbon Networks Fund (LCNF) conference at the Wales Millennium Centre on Thursday and Friday. The LCNF conference is run by Energy Networks Association on behalf of Ofgem.

With the Government’s Carbon Plan setting targets to reduce emissions by 18 per cent on 2008 levels by 2020, some 40 per cent of electricity must come from low carbon sources by 2020. Electricity network operators, like UK Power Networks, are preparing for the challenge.

Dave Openshaw, head of future networks at UK Power Networks, said: “We take these challenges and opportunities very seriously and since 2005 we have built up a portfolio of projects that will enable the transition to a low carbon future. We want to lead the way in facilitating the decarbonisation of electricity and play our part in enabling the electrification of heat and transport. The conference is a great opportunity for network operators across Britain to share the knowledge gained from our Low Carbon Networks Funded projects.”

In addition to electrical engineering experts, the conference will also be attended by customers, project partners and stakeholders sharing information about the latest developments.

The main projects which UK Power Networks will be talking about at the conference are Low Carbon London, Flexible Plug and Play and its Low Carbon Networks Fund (LCNF) Tier 1 projects.

On Wednesday (October 24), there will be a day specifically for distribution network operators to share knowledge gained from the LCNF projects. During these sessions, UK Power Networks will be speaking about the LCNF Tier 2 project, Flexible Plug and Play, which was awarded £6.7million by Ofgem in November. The project aims to enable faster and cheaper integration of renewable generation, such as wind power, into the electricity distribution network. It will trial innovative technical and commercial solutions to provide the most flexible and cost-effective means of connecting renewable generation to the distribution network in an area of around 700km2 between Peterborough, March and Wisbech in Cambridgeshire. The talk will focus on early knowledge gained from engaging with the generation customers in the trial area and developing the proposed innovative commercial solutions.

Also on the same day, the company will be talking about responsive demand contracts arranged through the Low Carbon London programme. UK Power Networks recently announced that a number of major business customers - including ExCel (signed up via Flexitricity), a major London department store (via EDF Energy) and a London visitor attraction (via EnerNOC) - had signed contracts with aggregator partners. Customers participating in the programme agree to reduce their demand when called on to do so by a defined number of megawatts of electricity between times of estimated higher demand on the electricity network or where UK Power Networks is managing a constraint on the network, such as a fault on a piece of equipment.

On Thursday (October 25), UK Power Networks will be presenting learning on some of its LCNF Tier 1 initiatives, which include the project “Demonstrating the benefits of short-term discharge energy storage on an 11kV distribution network” which is trialling a pioneering electrical energy storage device near Hemsby in Norfolk. The plant is designed to harness power from local wind turbines and store it in special batteries so that it can be used in the electricity distribution network when it is needed and not just when the wind blows. It was the first example of an energy storage system based on lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries in the UK and was among the first in western Europe.

On Friday (October 26), the second of the wider industry days at the conference, programme director Liam O’Sullivan will be talking about the Low Carbon London programme. Its aim is to use London as a test bed to develop a smarter electricity network that can manage the demands of a low carbon economy and deliver reliable, sustainable low carbon electricity.

UK Power Networks will also share knowledge on how it is progressing towards deploying a Quadrature-booster on to a 33kV network. A Quadrature-booster is a special type of transformer that will balance the flow of electricity between different circuits according to their load-carrying capacity. This will increase network headroom to allow more connections.

The public will be able to follow the events at the conference via the ENA’s Twitter page and are being invited to tweet at #LCNF2012.

The 2013 Low Carbon Networks Fund conference will be hosted by UK Power Networks in London.


For further information please contact Niamh Arnett, in the UK Power Networks press office, on 0845 302 7292.

Notes to editors:
UK Power Networks distributes power to a quarter of Britain’s population through its electricity networks serving London, the South East and the East of England. The company's 5,000 employees are dedicated to delivering a safe, secure electricity supply to about eight million homes and businesses via its networks of substations, overhead lines and underground cables. 
UK Power Networks distributed the electricity at many venues for this summer’s international sporting events. This year we are investing £360million in our electricity networks and around £1.8billion in the five years to 2015. We are also undertaking trials to ensure our electricity networks support the transition to a low carbon future.
Customers pay their bills to supply companies but UK Power Networks delivers the power across our three areas. The industry regulator Ofgem sets an allowed revenue to distribution companies so that they can maintain safe and reliable electricity supplies. If customers are unfortunate enough to be affected by a power cut or have another issue with the electricity supply to their property, they should contact UK Power Networks.