Northern Powergrid to boost smart grid capabilities in 860 substations

Northern Powergrid to boost smart grid capabilities in 860 substations

Northern Powergrid, a UK-based energy supplier, has begun the next phase of a project to implement smart grid capabilities in more than 860 substation controllers in the country.

Some £15m will be invested in the development and installation of next-generation substation controllers at Northern Powergrid’s substations under this next phase of the project, which will enable and implement smart grid capabilities at more than 860 locations around the UK by 2023.

The implementation of smart grid capabilities will lay the foundations for a smart grid across the north of the UK, and enable a larger reliance on renewable energy, minimising carbon emissions and enabling smart solutions which the company estimates could save up to £500m by 2031.

How is the programme supporting the UK’s ambition to transition to renewables?

The Smart Grid Enablers programme is pursuing the wider implementation of infrastructure which will support a transition towards renewable energy sources, including such technologies as electric vehicles, domestic heat pumps and solar power. By future-proofing its technology in advance of the wider rollout of smart grids, Northern Powergrid hopes to create more flexibility in delivering energy to customers.

Mark Nicholson, head of smart grid implementation at Northern Powergrid, said: “This is a significant and technically challenging operation drawing on many of our highly specialist technical functions across the business – it has been an impressive team effort between Northern Powergrid and ZIV Automation UK Ltd to get us to this stage. The advantage at the end of this work will be infrastructure that will enable us to operate our network in a more flexible way to deliver more value for our customers through smarter, more efficient and cost-effective services.”

What is the full scope of the Smart Grid Enablers programme?

A total of £83m will be invested across the entire length of the project, making it one of the UK’s most comprehensive ever network upgrade programmes. Following the successful completion of the proof-of-concept phase of the project, the next phase of the programme will begin this month, and is scheduled to be completed by 2023.

This will involve Northern Powergrid partnering with ZIV Automation UK Ltd., to replace substation remote terminal units, which act as an interface between substations and electric pants, marshalling analogue data such as voltage, current and power information, and communicating with control engineers.


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