Northern Powergrid has announced details of an £83 million programme to develop smart grid technologies.
The Smart Grid Enablers programme will prepare the North East, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire economies for the rapid growth of electric vehicles, domestic heat pumps and renewable power.
It will involve installing high-bandwidth digital communications links to more than 8,000 substations, replacing voltage controllers, installing monitoring equipment and building new data centres.
The firm expects these upgrades to allow it to identify where it can connect more solar power and electric vehicles without costly upgrades and where upgrades are needed, saving up to £500 million by 2031.
It says the programme will underpin the company’s transition into a Distribution System Operator, providing a platform to roll out smart, cost-effective network management solutions.
This will help balance the grid as intermittent renewables and battery storage start to play a larger role and electric vehicles and heat pumps increase demand.
Patrick Erwin, Policy and Markets Director at Northern Powergrid, said: “Our Smart Grid Enablers programme is putting our region at the forefront of the low-carbon revolution.
“It will make us ready to support rapid growth of electric vehicles, heat pumps and solar power in the next decade, while maintaining a reliable system and keeping costs as low as possible for all our customers.”