We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Durham Energy Institute

Customer Led Network Revolution

Durham University Team

Professor Harriet Bulkeley (Geography)

Dr Sandra Bell (Anthropology)

Dr Chris Dent (School of Engineering and Computer Science)

Dr Steve Lyon (Anthropology)

Mr Robin Wardle (School of Engineering and Computer Sciences)

Ms Ellis P. Judson (Research Associate, Anthropology)

Project background

The Customer-Led Network Revolution (CLNR) Project is the UK’s biggest smart grid project and at the forefront of the move towards a low-carbon economy. The £54 million scheme is an exciting collaboration between academia and business led by Northern Powergrid, the electricity distribution network operator for the North East and Yorkshire. The project is part-funded by the Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets’ (OFGEM) Low Carbon Networks Fund (LCNF). The other lead business partners in the project are British Gas and EA Technology. Durham University is providing academic rigour to the project through its multi-disciplinary Durham Energy Institute.

The transition to a low-carbon economy will present both opportunities and challenges for the electricity industry and its customers. The CLNR project seeks to develop cost-effective solutions that will ensure the UK electricity network is fit for the future and able to cope with mass uptake of electricity dependent, low-carbon technologies, such as solar panels, electric vehicles and heat pumps.

The project is trialling innovative new smart grid technology on the Northern Powergrid electricity network, as well as creating thousands of smart-enabled homes across the North East and Yorkshire, to give customers more choice and flexibility over the way they use and generate electricity.

Knowledge gained from the project will be shared with other distribution network operators and the wider energy industry; it will provide clear guidance on how to address key energy issues via the deployment of smart grid technologies and customer interventions.

Project findings

The project has now finished. The project looked at a number of issues related to the potential for customer and network-led flexibility options in managing the networks, including: domestic use of time of use tariffs, industrial and commercial demand side response (DSR), storage, domestic heat-pumps, electric vehicles, rooftop Photovoltaic (PV) and smart washing machines. A number of final reports and publications on different aspects of the project have been published.

For all final reports and further information on the CLNR project visit the project website at

More information on CLNR project impact

Find out about CLNR project resources