Northern Powergrid announces £83mn programme to make the North a low-carbon leader
On 24 January, the Norther Powergrid announced an £83mn (US$118mn) programme that aims to see the North a low-carbon leader.
The programme will focus on the region’s economy, and prepare it for growth in the electric vehicle, domestic heat pumps, and renewable power industries.
The foundations of a smart grid are being assembled by Smart Grid Enabler’s – the network programme – in a bid to feature low-carbon technology at the heart of the North’s economy.
The grid is also anticipated to enable solutions that could save the region up to £500mn ($710.5mn) by 2031.
The smart grid will run for the next five years, transforming Northern Powergrid’s network, specifically its monitoring, control, and communication.
The project will see over 8,000 substations deliver power to 3.9mn homes and businesses in the North East, Yorkshire, and northern Lincolnshire.
“Our Smart Grid Enablers programme is putting our region at the forefront of the low-carbon revolution,” stated Patrick Erwin, Policy and Markets Director at Northern Powergrid.
“It will make us ready to support rapid growth of electric vehicles, heat pumps and solar power in the next decade, while maintaining a reliable system and keeping costs as low as possible for all our customers,”
“This is the most comprehensive upgrade programme of any UK network operator and will give us a state of the art command and control capability, enabling us to respond to real-time information about power flow on our network.”
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.