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Innovative engineer named a ‘rising star’

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A female engineer has been named as a ‘rising star’ in the UK Energy Innovation Awards 2014 for her vision in delivering innovative changes in the electricity industry.

UK Power Networks project leader Lynne McDonald, who is 26, faced strong competition to scoop the coveted title at this week’s industry awards in Manchester run by the Energy Innovation Centre.

She was honoured for her work in helping tackle fuel poverty and supporting the connection of new distributed generation sites to the electricity network – the £5.49m Vulnerable Customers and Energy Efficiency project and £9.7m Flexible Plug and Play project.

McDonald said: “I am humbled by this award and see it as recognition for past contributions. It’s also an encouragement to apply myself further within my discipline to deliver innovative solutions for the improvement of the electricity networks and driving continuous value to customers.

“I would like to acknowledge my colleagues who have supported my career development and those within the innovative organisations and academic institutes that I have had the fortune to work with collaboratively.”

The judges said McDonald demonstrated “energy, enthusiasm and innovative contributions” in delivering the UK’s first grid and primary level telecommunications system as part of the flagship Flexible Plug and Play project. The first eight generation customers to accept these innovative interruptible connection offers have saved more than £19m compared to conventional firm power connections.

She also successfully secured £3.3m for UK Power Networks’ pioneering £5.5m Vulnerable Customer and Energy Efficiency project which the judges said would have a “significant impact on its approach to decarbonising electrical networks”. The project is testing if fuel poor customers could benefit from participation in demand side response and energy efficiency.

The UK Energy Innovation Awards celebrate the projects, technologies and talent at the forefront of innovation within the energy sector. The awards have the backing of the UK’s energy leaders from across the gas, electricity and offshore renewables sectors.

Denise Massey, managing director of the Energy Innovation Centre, organisers of the awards, said: “We are proud to host these awards which continue to go from strength-to-strength each year. Their evolution over the past four years reflects the development of innovation within the energy sector which has gone from being aspirational to an accepted part of business as usual.

“The stories we’ve heard are further proof that with a degree of courage and a willingness to collaborate we can deliver transformational practices and processes that have the power to benefit both customers and the environment, and help to strengthen the industry moving forward.”


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