Northern Powergrid will start installing vehicle-to-grid (V2G) chargers at its premises this month as part of a V2G fleet trial.
The company plans to start electrifying its vehicle fleet, including car-based vans, though heavy vehicles will remain combustion-based for the foreseeable future.
Vehicles will be supplied by Nissan, which manufactures in Sunderland, within the DNO’s area.
Deploying chargers at 11 of its sites, Northern Powergrid said it will not need to take reinforcement work to accommodate them for now, but probably will in future.
The DNO is involved in a tax payer-funded trial led by Nissan whereby 1,000 V2G charging points will be installed across the UK. It has also signed an agreement with the carmaker to undertake further projects to work out how EVs and batteries can help balance the grid.
Northern Powergrid head of policy development, Jim Cardwell, said the firm was “starting small to begin with” and will take an initial five Nissan Leaf vehicles. It has also bought three eNV200 vans for evaluation “with a greater commitment likely to be made in due course”, according to a spokesperson.
Following a recent trial using gamification to engage households in demand-side response, Northern Powergrid has plans to apply that approach to EV charging.
The company is also working with Newcastle University on applications for second-life EV batteries, and has previously outlined its views that EVs and V2G services will be a cornerstone of the smart local energy system it plans to build.
Work to enable that system via digitalisation of its network began earlier this year as part of an £83m project.
The company is also looking at procuring flexibility from demand-side sources.