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Northern Powergrid to trial vehicle-to-grid charging under range of new initiatives

NPG's Patrick Erwin

​Northern Powergrid's policy & markets director Patrick Erwin has been outspoken over the need to more fully address the rise of electric vehicles and their impact on the grid. Image: Northern Powergrid.

Northern Powergrid will install electric vehicle (EV) and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) chargers at a number of its own sites as part of a series of new initiatives aimed at growing its understanding of the impact of fleet electrification.

The distribution network operator will begin installation of 16 V2G charging points this month, which will be used to contribute to a trial of the technology when used in fleet operations.

The DNO will also invest in the installation of new EV charging points at 11 of its sites. In addition to the V2G chargers, these will support Northern Powergrid’s efforts to electrify its fleet beginning with its pool cars.

“We have to get hands on and lead by example. We are starting small to begin with, bringing on five Nissan Leaf EVs that will be available for our people to use,” said Jim Cardwell, head of policy development at Northern Powergrid.

“Although colleagues frequently have to take our vehicles to places where there is no electricity, there is huge internal appetite to decarbonise as much of our fleet as possible, as soon as is practical.”

A survey of EV ownership within the business will also seek to ensure the growing driver base has the right infrastructure in place to facilitate adoption.

The DNO hopes the initiatives, which will all be carried out in 2018, will give its 2,500 employees the chance to engage with new EV technology across several of its 28 sites.

Cardwell continued: “Charging infrastructure is moving and improving rapidly. By using ourselves as a testbed, we are better positioned to understand how our customers will engage with these emerging technologies.”

The new initatives are the latest from the DNO, which has ramped up its involvement in EVs and charging technology in recent years.

In January it was among the 80 firms to be awarded a combined £30 million in government funding to carry out over 20 separate V2G trials, winning £9.8 million to take part in a project led by Nissan that will see 1,000 V2G chargers installed.

This followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the car manufacturer to undertake projects that will look at how EVs, batteries and other technologies can support energy networks.

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