Gas networks join EIC in search for latest technology

January 24th, 2013

The Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) has secured a major agreement for four of the UK’s gas distribution network operators to join the organisation.

The agreement means the centre will now give SMEs and innovators with ideas for the gas sector, access to funding available via Ofgem’s Innovation Funding Incentive scheme, the Low Carbon Networks Fund and the Network Innovation Stimulus Programme starting in 2013.

Each of the new partners – National Grid, Scotia Gas Networks, Northern Gas Networks and Wales and West Utilities – will assume a stakeholder role in the centre, enhancing its ability to deliver a greater quality and volume of energy technologies for development on the UK electricity and gas networks.

They join the UK’s electricity distribution network operators – Scottish Power Energy Networks, UK Power Networks, Scottish and Southern Energy, Electricity North West and Northern Power Grid – in seeking new technologies that can support the energy industry’s commitment to network enhancement.

Under Ofgem’s regulation, each of the four gas operators, which between them hold all eight gas distribution licences, is encouraged to invest at least 0.5 per cent of its annual revenue in research and development and trialling technologies.

Denise Massey, managing director of the Energy Innovation Centre, which is based at The Technology Centre in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire and works with businesses across the UK and worldwide, said: “We have enjoyed great success in bringing together the brightest innovators from around the world with the UK’s electricity industry and we look forward to taking that expertise into the gas sector.

“Our gas network partners are committed to finding viable opportunities for sustainable energy technologies. This means we are the single point of contact for innovators to engage with the biggest players in the UK energy sector.

“We will work with individuals and start-ups to identify practical applications for their projects and source the funding and advice needed to make them a commercial reality.”

Gaynor Jones, innovation manager at National Grid Gas, said: “We have long been aware of the prominence of EIC within the energy innovation community and its philosophy complements our own ambitions to identify greater efficiencies, support our output measures and improve customer experience.”

Martin Alderson, network director at Northern Gas Networks, said: “With our partners in the gas distribution sector, we are committed to finding innovative ways to reduce the carbon impact of our activities and we look forward to unearthing those opportunities alongside EIC.”

Malcolm Russell, director of operations of Scotia Gas Networks, said: “The EIC is providing a fundamental conduit between the UK’s brightest innovators and the energy distribution networks. Scotia is delighted to establish itself as part of this crucial organisation.”

The announcement comes ahead of the centre’s annual UK Energy Innovation Awards which take place in Manchester on April 25th. The awards celebrate ground-breaking pioneers working to develop the next generation of energy products and services and nominations are open until February 1st. To nominate or for more information see http://www.energyinnovationcentre.com/uk-energy-innovation-awards/

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