Northern Powergrid has announced it will run an energy storage trial involving electric vans in order to restore power to customers during a power cut.
As part of the two-year trial the network operator has partnered with energy storage companies Hyperdrive Innovation and Offgrid Energy.
According to the company up to three homes or a small community centre could be powered with just one van for 24 hours, even longer if those homes have domestic solar generation.
The first ‘Silent Power project’ vehicle will be on the streets of Northern Powergrid’s operating area this month.
Electricity from the Silent Power batteries aims to be more reliable than diesel generators, which can trip out – a particular problem for customers who have their own domestic generation.
Northern Powergrid currently deploys more than 2,500 diesel generators annually to provide temporary power restoration during planned and unplanned power cuts each year.
Furthermore, more than 20 per cent of the network operator’s customer-base is on the Priority Services Register, with 12 per cent of those on the register being medically dependent on electricity.
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
“This is just one way we are demonstrating our commitment to ensuring the energy transition works for all people across our society – not just those that can afford the latest technology.
“Traditional generators cannot accept power input from customers’ generation, which can happen at times of low load, as they were only designed to output power.
“The Silent Power battery solution can. This is becoming ever more important with rooftop solar installations throughout electricity networks. It means we don’t waste green energy that otherwise would be lost.”
Stephen Irish, commercial director of Hyperdrive, said: “Projects like Silent Power are bringing bold British innovation to the doorstep of every household and we are proud to be involved.
“In these uncertain times its reassuring that this blossoming high-tech sector can not only drive UK jobs and growth, but can become the backbone of community support delivered by the team at Northern Powergrid.”
Danny Jones, director of Off Grid Energy, said: “The Silent Power project has been a great opportunity to take our low carbon power solutions to another level, adding a further dimension in driving out emissions from the electricity networks.
“Working with Northern Powergrid has been a great experience for us at Off Grid where their vision and support has enabled us to push boundaries in ways that would not have otherwise been possible.”