£30m Thames Valley Energy Project

5 December 2011, 06:45

The Thames Valley is the first place in Europe to take part in ground-breaking research which could see us get cheaper electricity bills in the future.

The £30m study is looking at ways of updating the electricity network to cope with huge changes in the way we use electricity in the future.

Stuart Reid, from Southern Electric, told Heart the changes could go in a few different directions:

"It depends on lots of things, for example, how popular electric vehicles become, how popular hybrid vehicles become. In an extreme case, we could see gas being ruled out in the future because it will become too expensive.

"This means we have to look at ways of updating the network so we can cope with the increased demand."

Researchers are discussing new ways of making the changes, so they don't need to dig up the roads.

These include new ideas of how to store electricity, such as street-level storage.

Ofgem's acting senior partner for Smarter Grids, Governance and Distribution, Rachel Fletcher said:

"Britain's energy grids need to undergo a revolution in how they are run so they can connect with more renewable generators and a range of low carbon technologies.

"Lessons learned from the projects will be shared with all network companies and other parties."