Northern Powergrid (NPg) is to launch a fleet of electric vans with on-board energy storage systems to restore power during power cuts and planned maintenance.
The 40kVA lithium ion batteries are to be trialed as a replacement for the DNO’s current diesel generators as part of a two-year trial dubbed 'Silent Power'.
The new batteries are also set to work better for homes with distributed energy generation, for example solar PV, as the DNO's current diesel generators are unable to accept input. However, the batteries are able to be charged from a customer’s solar, meaning that renewable resource isn’t wasted.
One battery can power up to three homes or a small community centre for 24 hours, NPg said. They are also said to be more reliable than diesel generators, which can trip out.
The DNO will asses the usability, benefits and economic viability of the storage systems, with learnings from the trial to be shared with the other DNOs.
The project is in collaboration with battery manufacturer Hyperdrive and hybrid generator system developer Offgrid Energy.
Patrick Erwin, policy and markets director at Northern Powergrid, said: “There is considerable opportunity for Silent Power to reduce the impact of power cuts for vulnerable people across our region, while also improving the air we all breathe and reducing noise pollution.”
NPg currently deploys over 2,500 diesel generators annually, with more than 20% of the DNO's customer-based on the Priority Services Register, a service provided to customers who might need extra support in a power cut.
Stephen Irish, commercial director of Hyperdrive, said: “The UK battery and storage industry is booming and we are now starting to identify ways in which the lives of everyday people can be enhanced with technology like ours."
The first electric vehicle is set to go on the road this month.