Friday, December 1, 2023

Digital Innovation Project to Drive Net Zero Kicks Off in West Midlands

A digital innovation project to share electricity network data with local authorities, enabling them to plan investment in energy, transport, heating and housing more effectively, is being trialed in the West Midlands.

The PRIDE (Planning Regional Infrastructure in a Digital Environment) project is being led by National Grid Electricity Distribution, with support from project partners including West Midlands Combined Authority and Advanced Infrastructure.

PRIDE will bring together datasets from a range of sources on a single digital platform to support and speed up local decision-making on regional energy planning as the UK moves towards net zero.

Local authorities will be able to use the platform to access electricity network data which will give them valuable information about factors like electrical capacity when drawing up their Local Area Energy Plans (LAEPs), enabling them to target investment more effectively.

In return, National Grid will get data from local authorities about their net zero ambitions and will be able to incorporate these into its future network planning to make sure the network is ready ahead of need.

Liza Troshka, Innovation Engineer at National Grid Electricity Distribution, said: “The PRIDE project aims to establish how digital tools can support collaboration between electricity distribution network operators and local authorities to create a more coordinated and integrated process when planning and connecting decarbonised heat and transport solutions.

“By sharing data, we can work even more closely together to help deliver Local Area Energy Plans, reducing cost and timescales, and ensuring the electricity network is ready ahead of need to ensure a cleaner and fairer energy future for all.”

The £558,491 project is being funded by £499,874 from Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), managed in partnership with Innovate UK, with the remainder coming from project partners.

The first phase of the project began in October 2023 and runs until March 2024.

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