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Northern Powergrid drafts a new roadmap for the development of smart grid technology in order that utilities may benefit from its deployment

UK power distributor Northern Powergrid has announced that it has drafted a roadmap to be used by utilities as a guideline in the development of smart grid technology through to 2050.

The power distributor created the guideline in a bid to make use of and share findings of the Customer-Led Network Revolution (CLNR) project.

The £28.6 million Ofgem funded CLNR project demonstrated how smart grid solutions and various commercial arrangements can be implemented to encourage customer flexibility on the Northern Powergrid network.

Northern Powergrid says that domestic project demonstrations were successful and if implemented as part of UK’s future grid, can lead up to net benefits of between £5 billion and £26 billion from 2020 to 2050.

To ensure the grid can handle higher than expected growth levels of low carbon technologies, Northern Powergrid is investing £83 million in foundation enabling smart grid technology, reported Utility Week.

The utility expects that consumers within its service network will benefit from £400 million in savings beyond 2023, as a result of smart grid plans developed from CLNR project research findings.

Commenting on the CLNR findings, Ofgem senior partner for distribution, Maxine Frerk, said the Low Carbon Networks Fund (LCNF) will assist energy networks facing challenges in moving to a low carbon future and ensuring costs are kept low for consumers.

The findings will be combined with other network’s LNCF projects for the design of new tariff frameworks.

However, Northern Powergrid warned that the domestic interventions trialed by the project will only be cost effective in the next decade if they deliver benefits to energy suppliers as well as avoiding network reinforcement.

Northern Powergrid smart grid tech

The news follows a collaboration of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council at the Newcastle University, Northern Powergrid and Siemens, to develop an energy storage testbed to strengthen the country's position in smart energy services.

The €200m testbed project, launched in May and will be stationed at Science City, an industrial hub of Newcastle.

The mission is to provide a platform for energy storage developers to optimise their systems and evaluate how they perform against grid disturbances.

The development platform is linked to a microgrid allowing researchers to test software solutions for smart grids and energy storage such as super-capacitors and batteries, power converter designs and control techniques.