We reported last month on the proposal by GE and Central Networks to turn Milton Keynes (UK) into a world-class, low-carbon city. It’s part of the companies’ efforts to secure a slice of UK regulator Ofgem’s £500m Low Carbon Networks Fund. Well now CE Electric UK, British Gas, Durham University and EA Technology have come up with their alternative for the North East and Yorkshire.
The plan is for around 14,000 homes and businesses to be involved in a £54m project to test the impact of new low carbon technologies. As well as installing smart meters in all the homes, 800 will also have solar PV panels installed, 150 equipped with electric cars and up to 1500 with either ground-source or air-source heat pumps. The project team plan to work with household names to test new technology on the electricity grid, such as GE (which is also part of the Milton Keynes consortium), Panasonic and Nissan, which has based manufacture of its all-electric family hatchback at its Sunderland plant.
The plans will focus primarily on the North East and Yorkshire, including major cities such as Durham, Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield. CE Electric and its partners are looking for £28m from Ofgem and if they get it work would begin in early 2011 with the technology installed later that year.
Nothing against Milton Keynes, but it would be good to see more government investment going to the North East of England, particularly if it brings with it new technology and new business opportunities such as this.
But this announcement from another consortium is a reminder of how competitive it’s going to be to get into this smart grid business. There’s so much to win in the long-term, but also so much to commit in the endeavour.