Ofgem gives National Grid £1.5m for energy projects

  • March 7, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

National Grid has been given £1.5m by UK regulator Ofgem for 13 gas and electricity projects including the use of satellite data analytics to increase resilience of electricity networks

The money comes from Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) for projects that could accelerate Britain’s progress towards delivering a net-zero energy network at the lowest cost to consumers.

National Grid has been granted £1.1m for ten gas projects, advancing work investigating the use of hydrogen in the national gas system and further unlocking gas’ role as an enabler in the transition to net zero.

It has also been awarded £400k for three electricity projects that will help develop a net-zero electricity network, including replacing greenhouse gas SF6 with a low carbon alternative as well as using satellite data analytics to future proof against the impacts of climate change.

These projects, led by National Grid’s innovation teams, are part of the group’s work enabling a cleaner energy system, facilitating a fully decarbonised and flexible electricity grid through connecting increased levels of renewable power, and enabling the decarbonisation of gas through investing in renewable natural gas and blending hydrogen in the network.

“The scale of the net-zero challenge is significant,” said Antony Green, National Grid Gas Transmission’s hydrogen director. “As a team, we really embraced the SIF process and submitted a number of well-rounded project proposals that are central to overcoming this challenge. I’m delighted that we have received funding for ten projects. These will all help demonstrate how we will transition from the national transmission system of today to the gas network of the future.”

The projects are funded by energy network users and consumers through Ofgem’s SIF managed in partnership with Innovate UK. Discovery is the first phase of a three-phase SIF competition grant focused on a feasibility study to identify challenges and benefits to end consumers.

National Grid Gas Transmission has been granted funding for ten projects:

  • HyNTS compression investigates the key challenges associated with compression of hydrogen using existing national transmission system (NTS) assets. This work will determine the most cost-effective compression option for hydrogen gas networks and demonstrate the proposed system.
  • HyNTS deblending develops a skid-mounted gas separation system that is scaled for extracting gas blends from the NTS and providing the right gases to users.
  • Ch4rge emissions capture will determine and demonstrate capture and recompression technologies that can be deployed on the existing gas network, to eliminate emissions from compressor leaks.
  • Gas analyser systems for hydrogen blends aims to demonstrate a fuel cell gas analyser technology that enables the compositional analysis of blends of hydrogen and natural gas up to 100% hydrogen in the NTS.
  • HyNTS pipeline dataset addresses several challenges regarding the inline inspection of hydrogen assets around both the pre assessment prior to hydrogen injection and post injection inspection.
  • Green hydrogen injection into the NTS focuses on the commercial and technical challenges of injecting and blending small volumes of green hydrogen into the NTS.
  • Nuclear net zero opportunities will look at how nuclear hydrogen both at a large and small scale can provide consistent hydrogen injection into the UK gas networks, while considering the wider impact on balancing between electricity and gas network systems.
  • Gas network interoperable digital twin looks to develop an interoperable digital system and twin of the gas transmission and gas distribution networks, linking into the wider energy networks.
  • Hydrogen metering will investigate how gas metering will change as the network is transitioned to hydrogen and will develop blends of hydrogen and natural gas, while considering the possibility of variability in the blends.
  • Hydrogen barrier coatings for gas network assets investigates the potential for deployment of hydrogen barrier coatings to protect and extend the lifetime of assets.

National Grid Electricity Transmission has received funding for three projects:

  • The Segil sustainable electrical gas insulated lines project will investigate the feasibility of a SF6 free gas insulated line to provide cost competitive, high-capacity transmission connections over 2000MVA to increase available network capacity for new offshore wind generation.
  • The Scadent superconductor applications for dense energy transmission project will develop an understanding of the barriers, opportunities, and benefits of modernising existing electricity infrastructure by replacing conventional cables with the use of high-temperature superconductor cable technology.
  • The eye in the sky project uses satellite data to improve grid resilience in emergencies. It will investigate satellite data analytics that can help networks improve the visibility of infrastructure and assets, response in emergency and risk assess effects of climate change. Novel uses of satellite data and digital platforms can significantly improve network planning, modelling and forecasting capabilities, and improve the response to climate change effects such as flooding, strong wind, snow storm or wildfire and provide warnings to the networks for better planning and resource allocation during extreme weather events.

“These ambitious, innovative projects have the potential to shape the future electricity network, accelerating the transition to net zero at the same time as delivering significant benefits to consumers,” said Alexander Yanushkevich, National Grid Electricity Transmission’s innovation manager. “The most successful of the feasibility study projects can go on to receive further funding and we look forward to taking each project forward and helping these new technologies become a reality.”