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Northern Powergrid invests £11.4m in digital transformation

Image: Northern Powergrid/EMR Integrated Solutions.

Image: Northern Powergrid/EMR Integrated Solutions.

EMR Integrated Solutions has been awarded an £11.4 million contract by Northern Powergrid to boost its remote network management.

The company - which has previously worked with firms such as SSE and Greencoat UK Wind - is to upgrade Northern Powergrid’s secondary Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system to an IP communications platform across 7,500 distribution substations.

This will enable Northern Powergrid to activate enhanced automation across thousands of substations, centralise control of its remote infrastructure and build a better understanding of customers’ electricity consumption patterns across the grid to provide a response service that meets customers’ needs.

The IP network can be used to remotely troubleshoot and manage devices across the air, reducing infrastructure management costs and allowing Northern Powergrid to be responsive to an active network.

The distribution network operator (DNO) pointed to how as its region decarbonises and customers become increasingly dependent on electricity to power low carbon technologies such as solar and electric vehicles, the new investment will provide a platform to rollout smart, cost-effective solutions and provide real-time network operation data to inform future management of the region’s power network.

The contract forms part of Northern Powergrid’s wider £83 million smart grid enabler programme, aiming to deliver the backbone of a more actively managed electricity distribution system to support future energy needs as it brings more renewable generation online in the UK.

The project rollout is currently underway, and is due for completion by March 2023.

Mark Nicholson, Northern Powergrid’s head of smart grids, said the project will help enhance network flexibility and facilitate its transition to a distribution system operator that "actively manages varying generation and demands across our grid as our customers become more dependent on electricity to power their lights, heating and transport".

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