A project announced yesterday by British Gas, will see 14,000 homes and businesses across the North East receiving free smart meters to gather data on their energy consumption.
A consortium of energy firms have unveiled the plans that will cost around £54m and are intended to examine the impact of energy created by microgeneration technologies on the UK grid.
The group of companies, which includes electricity distributor CE Electric UK, will encourage people to utilise technologies such as solar panels and ground-source heat pumps, to test how businesses and homes sell excess electricity back to the grid.
The project will then trial a range of new technical and commercial proposals designed to improve grid performance and manage changing supply and demand patterns.
However, it has been uncovered that the whole project is dependent on the approval of a £28m grant from Ofgem's Low Carbon Networks Fund.
A spokesman for British Gas said that although the group is confident it will secure the grant, it would not be able to continue as planned with the project without this government support.
A decision from Ofgem is expected by the end of the year and if successful, the team will start working on the project in early 2011, with British Gas installing smart meters later in the year.
Phil Bentley, managing director of British Gas said in a statement earlier this week, "As a Yorkshireman, I'm proud that Yorkshire and the North East will be a beacon to other areas across the country on how to adapt to a low-carbon future - bringing British homes and businesses lower energy bills and a reduced carbon footprint."
The group claims that the trial could help speed up the installation of low-carbon technology across the UK and as a result potentially save homes and businesses across the UK around £8bn in energy costs and 43 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
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