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Low carbon project of the year

A carbon-busting scheme to connect renewable generation schemes to the electricity network faster and cheaper has won a prestigious award.

From Press releases - 4 July 2014 12:00 AM

EEEGR Energy Innovation Awards (2).jpg

A carbon-busting scheme to connect renewable generation schemes to the electricity network faster and cheaper has won a prestigious award.

UK Power Networks, which runs the electricity network in East Anglia, picked up the East of England Energy Group’s (EEEGR) Low Carbon Energy Innovation Award 2014 for its Flexible Plug and Play scheme on Wednesday at the Energy Innovation Awards in Norwich.

The Flexible Plug and Play project, which started as a trial in Cambridgeshire, has proved so successful that it is being extended to other parts of the electricity network next year.

Sotiris Georgiopoulos, the project’s director, said: “We are delighted to win this award for an innovation which is enabling solar and wind farm schemes to go ahead, rather than being abandoned. It is saving the developers of these sites millions of pounds, cutting huge volumes of carbon in support of nationally-binding targets and supporting green-collar jobs.”

Flexible Plug and Play lets solar and wind farm developers connect their schemes to constrained parts of UK Power Networks’ electricity network without the need of extensive reinforcement. It works by allowing generators to respond to signals which curtail their electricity output for short periods when the electricity network is congested, keeping power flows within safe and reliable limits. This typically has a small impact on their output, significantly outweighed by the benefit of a cheaper connection.

The first 10 generation customers to accept these innovative connections are set to save more than £21million over the cost of conventional connections, whilst enabling the connection of 33.88MW of low carbon generation projects. These projects are worth an estimated £35million, none of which would be financially viable otherwise. Estimates indicate that by 2020 the project could deliver CO2 emission savings equivalent to more than 575million miles in an average passenger car.

Simon Grey, chief executive of EEEGR, said: “Our judges went through a number of top-quality innovations from the finalists. UK Power Networks won the Low Carbon Energy Innovation Award for Flexible Plug and Play. It’s a fantastic and very innovative concept that provides a really useful and low-cost way of connecting renewable generation developments to the electricity network. It was widely lauded by all the judges which is why it won the category.”

The winners were announced after the nine finalists presented to a Dragon’s Den-style expert panel of judges and a live audience before being grilled on all aspects of their innovations. The judges and audience were then invited to cast their votes to determine the winners.

The EEEGR awards showcase the region’s bright ideas, products, processes and services, recognising the innovations with the most potential for reducing carbon.