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Costain partner with Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks and E.ON to help improve network resilience in rural parts of the UK

Keeping the lights on in rural locations


3 December 2019

Following a successful bid into Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition (NIC), funding of over £9.5 million will be used to develop a leading-edge digital energy solution to maintain and improve reliability, providing customers with a low carbon, cost-effective and secure electricity supply.

As well as a technology demonstration, the Resilience as a Service (RaaS) project will also develop the commercial arrangements to allow the solution to be scaled up, empowering remote and isolated areas of Great Britain with more reliable electricity supply.

The project will combine innovative smart grid technology and energy storage alongside new commercial arrangements that will balance electricity supply in times of disruption, allowing local renewable energy sources to ‘keep the lights on’.  This will reduce disruption from power cuts for customers, reduce the use of carbon-intensive diesel standby generators, and ultimately allow local businesses to contribute to energy security by becoming part of the solution that delivers RaaS.

Costain will draw on its range of services to enable the integration of the project into a workable, smart solution through the practical application of systems thinking to understand the complexity of the rapidly changing market place. Costain will also deliver reputable programme management services and leading work to develop the future supply chain that will enable a competitive market for the provision of resilience to all GB Distribution Network Operators (DNOs).

Rob Phillips, energy sector director, Costain, said: “This project demonstrates our commitment to providing smart solutions to enable a decarbonised energy future. 

Through leveraging our extensive, multi-sector expertise we can provide the leading-edge programme management services and a systems-engineering led approach to help SSE deliver the project more quickly, more cost effectively and more safely.”

Stewart Reid, head of innovation for SSEN said: “Maintaining a resilient network is central to our role as a Network Operator. Maintaining this resilience as we meet net zero is only going to become harder unless we apply new methods. These methods need to take advantage of new partnerships, local renewables energy and the advances in the digital world.  The awarding of this project is a significant step towards meeting this challenge and we look forward to working with our partners, communities and other stakeholders in its detailed design and delivery.”


Notes to Editors
Costain helps to improve people’s lives with integrated, leading edge, smart infrastructure solutions across the UK’s energy, water, transportation and defence markets. We help our clients improve their business performance by increasing capacity, improving customer service, safeguarding security, enhancing resilience, decarbonising and delivering increased efficiency. Our vision is to be the UK’s leading smart infrastructure solutions company. We will achieve this by focusing on blue chip clients whose major spending plans are underpinned by strategic national needs, regulatory commitments, legislation or essential performance requirements. We offer our clients leading edge solutions that are digitally optimised through the following five services which cover the whole lifecycle of their assets: future-shaping strategic consultancy; consultancy and advisory; digital technology solutions; asset optimisation and complex programme delivery.  Our culture and values underpin everything we do.
For more information visit www.costain.com  

Project information

The SSEN innovation portfolio covers a wide spectrum of innovation areas. It continues to address key industry challenges, including the uptake of electric vehicles and other low carbon technologies, as well as the transition to a Distribution System Operator (DSO) model. RaaS represents the next development phase by extending SSEN’s existing portfolio of flexibility services to include resilience.

SSEN will provide expertise in GB distribution networks and a deep understanding of real-world issues based on their extensive experience in managing networks in remote and challenging locations including the ground-breaking NINES project, as well as the learning from other Distribution Network Operator (DNO) projects including NPg’s ongoing Microresilience NIA project.

E.ON is an international company based in Essen, Germany with a clear focus on Customer Solutions and Energy Networks. Its Innovation activities focus on these two segments and reflect its strategy of focusing on the new energy world of empowered and proactive customers, distributed and renewable energy, local energy systems and digital solutions. 

Two individual EON business units will participate in the Project namely E.ON Solutions GmbH (ESOL) and E.ON Business Solutions GmbH (EBU);
• ESOL focuses on bringing innovative products and services tailored for customer needs. The areas targeted are smart microgrids, home energy management systems, PV and battery, E-mobility, smart heating and energy network solutions. The Decentral Energy Systems (DES) Innovation team is responsible for innovative smart grid projects; Simris is part of this department
• EBU specializes in integrated energy solutions for industrial, commercial and public-sector customers. The company offers tailored solutions in energy efficiency, on-site generation, virtual power plants, flexibility and battery storage. EBU brings in the market access, aggregation and commissioning experience, with projects including the Blackburn Meadows Battery in UK, a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 10 MW to provide enhanced frequency response.

About Ofgem Electricity Network Innovation Competition (NIC)

The Ofgem Electricity Network Innovation Competition (NIC) is an annual opportunity for electricity network companies to compete for funding for the development and demonstration of new technologies, operating and commercial arrangements. Funding will be provided for the best innovation projects which help all network operators understand what they need to do to provide environmental benefits, reduce costs, and maintain security as Great Britain (GB) moves to a low carbon economy. Up to £70m per annum is available through the Electricity NIC.