Trials pave the way to save money and help cut the capital’s carbon footprint

Futuristic blueprints to help cut London’s carbon emissions were published todayby UK Power Networks, the company which keeps the city’s lights on.

London was the test bed for a range of cutting-edge trials - the results of which will help millions of people across the UK if the energy industry introduces them widely. For example new-style energy contracts which have been trialled are already set to save customers in London, the East and South East £43million over the next eight years, and the country could reduce the projected domestic electricity demand in 2020 by about 9% if people switch to more efficient household appliances.

After four years’ work,27 reports revealing results from theLow Carbon Londontrials are out today. The trials testednew ‘smart grid’ techniques on the electricity networks with thousands of Londoners to support growing uptake of low carbon technologies.

The £28.3million project explored ways to meetmajor extra demand on the capital’s electricity system anticipatedfrom local green electricity, heat pumps, electric vehicles (EVs) and solar panels – without overloading the network or adding significantly to electricity bills.Low Carbon London was funded through Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund and by UK Power Networks.

The trials included rewarding customers to reduce their electricity consumption as required, flexible energy tariffs based on renewable energy output for domestic customers, electric vehicle charging schemes, a major home appliance survey and monitoring the impact of green electricity systems.

UK Power Networks’ partners on the Low Carbon London programme were Imperial College London, Siemens, CGI, EDF Energy, Greater London Authority, Transport for London, National Grid, the Institute for Sustainability, Flexitricity, Smarter Grid Solutions and EnerNOC.

Martin Wilcox, head of future networks at UK Power Networks, said: “This is the culmination of four years’hard work by11 partners bringing together some of the leading names in smart grids. Low Carbon London brings us a vital stepcloser to the low carbon future and tackles the ‘energy trilemma’ to deliver low carbon, affordable, secure power supplies.

“As green forms of electricity production, heating and transport increase, intelligent systems will be essential to monitor, control and balance significant extra pressures on our networks, without human intervention. Low Carbon London has tested new smart grid techniques in ways that have never been attempted before in Britain.

“Low Carbon London has demonstrated the importance of collaboration between diverse organisations.Everyone is in this together and we owe it to future generations to work together – policy-makers, industry, business and local communities – to act on the research, delivering smart changes for a low carbon future.”

The pilot trials covered in the Low Carbon London reports are:

The Low Carbon London initiative introducedcollaborative new working relationships to help deliversmart grids. It forged new commercial relationshipsbetween UK Power Networks and four energy aggregators, plus arrangements with 37 demand response sites. The project involved control room integration with two demand response sites and system integration with a Charging Network Operator (CNO) to call off demand response from electric vehicle charging posts. The project also delivered a shared, multi-purpose time-of-use tariff with EDF Energy, a major energy supplier.

Carbon emissions from today’s electricity system are around 450g/kWh3 and the Government is seeking ways in which to reduce this by between 100-200g/kWh by 2030. If only one of the initiatives demonstrated in Low Carbon London was fully adopted across the country, an additional contribution of 5g/kWh towards this reduction would be achieved, with the potential for far more. This could only be otherwise achieved by replacing a further 700MW of conventional generation with low carbon generation.

Matthew Pencharz, the Mayor’s Senior Environment and Energy Adviser, said: “Helping Londoners access energywhich is affordable, secure and sustainable is a key priority at City Hall. We have worked closely with UK Power Networks through Low Carbon London to help develop this dynamic blueprint that could develop the transformation of the capital to one of the most energy efficient cities in the world.”

The Low Carbon London findings are accessible online at: ukpowernetworks.co.uk/innovation.