Ofgem has awarded a total of up to £57.5 million to the seven winners of its annual network innovation competitions.

The competition is held every year to trial “innovative practices and new technologies” and the regulator has selected two gas and five electricity projects to receive the funding.

According to an Ofgem report on the competition, the winning projects have been selected because “they will help network licensees to understand how to meet customers’ changing requirements as Great Britain moves towards a low-carbon economy”.

“Network companies have a fundamental role in supporting the delivery of a low carbon economy while contributing to maintaining safe, secure and reliable energy supplies at long-term value for money to consumers,” the report states.

“Innovation is crucial to meeting these outcomes by changing what is considered ‘business as usual’ and enabling a more rapid pace of change in the sector.”

The seven winning projects include one by Northern Gas Networks to examine whether gas networks can safely transport 100 per cent hydrogen gas.

SGN has also won funding for a project, which will use advanced robotics to cut costs and lower the environmental impact of carrying out street works (SGN).

And UK Power Networks has won funding to look at using automation technology to squeeze more capacity out of local electricity networks so that more consumers can be connected without expensive grid reinforcement.

Among the other winners are Western Power Distribution, SP Energy Networks and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks.