EDF Energy Networks yesterday unveiled plans to provide London with one of the world's greenest energy grids, detailing proposals for a raft of smart grid demonstration projects designed to support the rapid roll out of electric cars, renewable energy systems and other low-carbon technologies.
The plans feature in an application for up to £39m in funding from Ofgem's £500m Low Carbon Networks Fund, which is due to be submitted to the regulator in early September.
The company said that if the funding application is successful it will install a range of new and existing technologies in homes, businesses and on parts of EDF's energy networks across the capital.
A spokeswoman for the company said that it will also work with Imperial College London to set up a "Low Carbon London Learning Laboratory" that will analyse the data collected from the various demonstration projects and work out how best to roll the technologies out over the next decade.
The project is expected to look at a wide range of different smart grid technologies. For example, one proposal is to trial intelligent grid technology designed to match London's electricity demand with the available output from renewable energy systems, allowing the capital to maximise the energy it consumes on windy days when offshore wind farms can provide zero carbon energy.
A similar project would aim to use smart grid systems to integrate electricity from small-scale renewable energy systems, such as rooftop solar panels and combined heat and power plants, into the grid. The trial would target the 10 low-carbon zones already designated by the Greater London Authority, which have been tasked with cutting emissions by 20.12 per cent by 2012.
Another trial will feed into the wider EDF group's plans to roll out thousands of electric car charging points across the capital. The company said that it would investigate how grid management technologies could ensure that there is not a peak in demand for power in the morning and evening when people complete their commute to work and plug in electric cars for recharging.
Finally, the project will address how non-technical solutions can help to encourage individuals and businesses to cut carbon emissions and reduce pressure on the grid, trialing new commercial arrangements that offer financial incentives to customers willing to reduce energy demand on request.
The funding application has already secured support from a number of high-profile backers, including London Mayor Boris Johnson and a raft of technology firms that have agreed to take part in the research project, such as grid operator National Grid, Siemens and Logica.
"The key to becoming a cleaner, less polluted and more energy-efficient city is to utilise clever new technologies," said Johnson. "I want London to be a pioneer in the introduction of ingenious solutions to crack the environmental challenges we face... We are pleased to support EDF Energy Networks' bid which, if successful, will deliver significant funds to help us to accelerate the introduction of smart ways to improve Londoners' quality of life."
National Grid's future transmission networks manager, Richard Smith, said that the project had the potential to provide a template for the national roll out of enhanced grid technologies.
"Initiatives like this are an important part of how we respond to that change - they can have a real local impact, but may also pave the way for national benefits, making new tools available to help National Grid balance supply and demand across Britain," he said.
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