SP Energy Networks and ERMCO Partner to Help Meet UK Net Zero Ambitions

Leading UK electricity network operator SP Energy Networks has announced its partnership with ERMCO - a leading global manufacturer of distribution transformers and other electrical distribution solutions – on their innovative LV ENGINE project designed to deliver a smarter grid with a lower carbon footprint.

The £8.3m flagship project, funded via Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition (NIC), will demonstrate how smart transformers allow more agile management of the electricity network, and how integration of existing grid infrastructure with the increased uptake of low carbon technologies (such as wind turbines and electric vehicles) can ultimately help realise net zero ambitions.

The smart transformer solution for the project will be provided by ERMCO’s Gridbridge power electronics technology, with SP Energy Networks currently looking at roll out opportunities across its UK distribution network. This new type of grid asset will combine the power management capabilities of a traditional transformer with cutting-edge intelligent control technology. When integrated with existing grid assets, smart transformers will allow increased grid capacity, deliver new DC services and ultimately increase grid resilience.

Colin Taylor, Director of Process and Technology at SP Energy Networks said, “As our nation strives to tackle the current climate emergency and to deliver against net zero targets, we need to find smarter, more agile ways to manage the increased demand that creates across our electricity network. By partnering with ERMCO, we’re preparing for the wider roll-out of electric vehicles and other low carbon technologies by identifying innovative solutions that will start to set a new standard for the utilities industry.”

Chad Eckhardt, President of GridBridge, said: “In a short time, we’ve been able to demonstrate how our team can successfully transform innovation into valuable products and solutions that can be deployed across the electricity grid. We are delighted to be working with SP Energy Networks to deliver its vision for a smarter more efficient grid for its customers.”

ERMCO’s CEO, Bill Reffert, said: “We’ve long believed that smart transformers will play a critical role within modern electrical networks and are pleased to be expanding our existing relationship with Iberdrola via their SP Energy Networks organisation in the UK.”

SP Energy Networks places customers at the heart of everything it does, and is committed to supporting the UK’s efforts to decarbonise many aspects of our modern lifestyles. The network operator recognises that increasing the availability of low carbon technologies like electric vehicles, electric heating, and low voltage DC supply on top of existing grid assets requires investment in innovative grid management solutions. The LV Engine project will demonstrate how utilities can cost effectively shift to low carbon operations while still maintaining the security and stability of supply, and ultimately enabling the zero carbon communities of tomorrow.

About SP Energy Networks:

SP Energy Networks (SPEN) is the licensed Electricity Distributor (DNO) for Central & Southern Scotland and for Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and North Shropshire. We have 30,000 substations (one substation for every 100 customers), 40,000km overhead lines (once around the globe), and 70,000km underground cables.


ERMCO (Electric Research and Manufacturing Cooperative, Inc.) is headquartered in Dyersburg, Tennessee, United States, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), Little Rock, Arkansas. Founded in 1964, ERMCO is a market leading producer of electrical equipment for the distribution grid, with a primary focus on distribution transformers and transformer components. For more information: http://www.ermco-eci.com.

About GridBridge

Acquired by ERMCO in 2017, GridBridge provides power electronics-based solutions to complex electrical networks. The company’s foundation of commercial products targeted to evolve the electrical grid was formed through collaboration with partners that include numerous utilities, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Energy among others. A unique value is provided to its partners, combining deep power electronics expertise and proven product development results with established manufacturing. For more information: http://www.grid-bridge.com.