Northern Powergrid has partnered with Hyperdrive Innovation and Offgrid Energy to run a two-year trial where electric van double as generators in case of power cuts. The utility is active in Britain in the North East and Yorkshire.
The Silent Power project will see electric vans with on-board energy storage systems restore power to customers during a power cut or essential maintenance work. “Up to three homes or a small community centre could be powered with just one van for 24 hours and even longer if those homes have domestic solar generation,” claims Northern Powergrid.
For the development, the utility turned to Hyperdrive, a designer and manufacturer of lithium-ion battery systems, and Offgrid Energy, a developer of hybrid generator systems. The team built the prototype 40kVA battery inverter generator. More so, different from regular generators, the onboard unit works bi-directionally and can thus take power from a client’s solar installation, for example. It is a feature that is becoming “ever more important,” said Patrick Erwin, Policy and Markets Director at Northern Powergrid.
Northern Powergrid considers the trial essential to improve its business operations. The utility currently deploys more than 2,500 diesel generators annually to provide temporary power restoration during planned and unplanned power cuts each year. Plus, more than 20% of Northern Powergrid’s customers are listed as needing extra support in a power cut, and 12% of those on the register are medically dependant on electricity.
Staff completed the training earlier this year, and the first electric vehicle will be on the streets of the operating area this month.
During the two-year trial, the partners will assess the usability, benefits and economic viability of the battery inverter generator units. Northern Powergrid plans to share the findings with other electricity Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) across the UK, as they continue the transition to become increasingly active Distribution System Operators (DSO).
Northern Powergrid has been looking into e-mobility through different lenses. The company also runs internal trials and has been working with Nissan to deploy 1,000 V2G charging points in the UK as reported.
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