Southern Electric Power Distribution's (SEPD) innovative 'Solent Achieving Value from Efficiency' (SAVE) project has recently been successful in securing £8.3 million of funding from Ofgem's Low Carbon Network Fund.

The Solent-based project, led by SEPD and with partners at the University of Southampton, DNV GL and Wireless Maingate will focus on local domestic customers, who will be offered new energy efficiency technology to trial in their homes and incentives for making long-term changes to their energy usage behaviour.

As well as potentially lowering domestic customers’ bills, the project is also investigating how reduced energy usage in the home can cut the amount of money that is required for electric network upgrades.

Stewart Reid, SEPD’s Future Network’s Manager, whose team led the project submission said: "I have worked in the energy sector for over 30 years and have rarely seen such profound changes in the industry. This project has the potential to completely change the relationship between Distribution Network Operators and their customers and come up with a valuable suite of tools for GB DNOs.

"This is an excellent result, not just for SEPD, but also for collaborators in the project such as Wireless Maingate, DNV GL and the University of Southampton, and ultimately, for GB distribution customers. It is also a fantastic opportunity for our customers and stakeholders in the Solent area to get involved in an important and innovative project".

SAVE will also see local authorities in the Solent area promote their Future Solent initiative, which aims to develop business opportunities and promote energy efficiency in homes through ‘Demand Reduction’ and reliable low carbon generation.

On completion of the SAVE project, all of the Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) across Great Britain will have a wide range of tools which will help them assess a particular network’s suitability for demand reduction through energy efficiency measures. This will help DNOs to make informed investment choices, which will see customer engagement and energy efficiency measures as cost-effective, low-carbon alternatives to traditional network reinforcement.

Hannah Nixon, Senior Partner at Ofgem, said: "Innovation is integral to the future development of Britain’s energy networks. Ofgem is leading the way in getting the network companies to prepare for the future through our three funding competitions. Today’s 10 successful projects show excellent partnership working with a range of organisations.

"The learnings from previous year’s innovation projects are already being shared among the industry and projects are showing real progress. I am sure that this year’s projects will continue to provide crucial learning and enable real savings to be delivered for existing and future consumers."