EA Technology, together with project partners, has been successful in winning funding for the Alpha phase of the Inform project – a collaborative initiative to develop a self-serve high voltage connections tool to be hosted on Northern Powergrid’s website, for use by developers of complex sites.
Working alongside Northern Powergrid, Energy Systems Catapult, Newcastle NHS Trust, City of York Council, Kensa Contracting and Renewable Energy Network, the project is funded by energy network users and consumers through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), a programme from the UK’s independent energy regulator Ofgem, managed in partnership with Innovate UK.
This project builds on an earlier Strategic Innovation Fund feasibility phase, during which benefits analysis determined the development of the tool would enable faster connections of low carbon technologies (focusing particularly on heat pumps) and accelerate the transition of complex sites to net zero operation. The Alpha stage will build upon this by developing a proof-of-concept tool that aims to demonstrate key novel functionality to give site developers options to reduce connection costs, via methods such as energy efficiency and on-site energy storage.
The project will use an agile methodology to develop the online software tool, which EA Technology has successfully deployed to deliver self-serve connection tools for multiple GB District Network Operators. Regular feedback sessions will be held with stakeholders to ensure that the tool is fit for purpose and easy to use.
Drawing on previous experience in developing online self-serve connection tools such as AutoDesign and ConnectMore, EA Technology is well placed to ensure efficient delivery. Meanwhile, Energy Systems Catapult will bring extensive knowledge of building projects via work, such as Modern Energy Partners (MEP), to ensure their expertise in building decarbonisation is incorporated into the tool. The tool is anticipated to offer savings to the customer through reduced connection costs and quick free budget estimates, as well as savings, to the network operator through reduced staff costs. General electricity customers will benefit through reduced costs for socialised network reinforcement, the accelerated adoption of low carbon technologies, and the decarbonisation that this project will enable.
Thomas Stone, Project Manager, EA Technology, comments, “I am excited that the Inform project team has been successful in securing funding to deliver the next stage. The proof-of-concept tool developed in this stage of the project will show how it is possible to incorporate optioneering into self-serve connection tools to accelerate heat electrification, whilst simultaneously ensuring connection costs are minimised for complex sites. This tool therefore has huge potential to accelerate decarbonisation.”