Renewable energy project in Fenland gets funding

A UK Power Networks project which aims to enable cheaper and faster integration of renewable generation, such as wind power, into the electricity distribution network has been awarded £6.7 million of funding in a competitive bid process run by Ofgem.

The Flexible Plug and Play (FPP) Low Carbon Networks project 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.

It is the second year UK Power Networks has been successful in Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund competition.

The FPP project will trial a number of innovations which will make best use of the existing network and allow real-time management of network constraints. The project will also develop an investment modelling tool that will determine the optimum network investment from both an economic and carbon emission perspective.

Renewable generation is at the heart of the UK Low Carbon Transition plan. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has set an ambitious target for 30 per cent of the UK’s electricity to be generated from renewable energy sources by 2030 and UK Power Network’s Flexible Plug and Play Low Carbon Networks project will play an important part in helping to achieve this goal.

Within the project area there are nine operational wind farms with a total installed capacity of 100MW. A further ten renewable generation sites have either won consent or are at the submission stage with an additional ten sites currently subject to scoping studies.

The FPP project will ensure that at every stage of the project interested parties, such as local authorities and renewable generation developers, will be able to contribute to and learn from the FPP project.

Ben Wilson, Director of Strategy and Regulation and Chief Financial Officer, said: “The success of this bid is tremendous news as it supports our aspirations to be a low carbon leader. UK Power Networks is fully committed to playing a key role in enabling the transition to a low carbon future.

“The provision of cheaper and faster connections of renewable generation is at the centre of the FPP project, which should directly benefit renewable generation developers and local authorities, and will support the Government’s goal for carbon emission reduction.

“Lessons learned from the project will be of value to all electricity network operators faced with the challenge of high concentrations of renewable generation, as the project will demonstrate how the deployment of smart grid solutions can result in faster and more economic connections.”

The Flexible Plug and Play project will run from January 2012 to December 2014 and cost £9.7 million in total.