Northern Powergrid has unveiled plans for an £83 million smart grid upgrade to its network in the North East of England, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire.

The “Smart Grid Enablers” is billed as “the UK’s most comprehensive network upgrade programme” and will run until 2023.

It is designed to prepare the grid for the rapid growth of electric vehicles, domestic heat pumps and renewable power, including solar panels, saving the economy £500m by 2031.

The company said the changes would be the most radical made to the grid since the 1970s and would involve more than 8,000 substations serving 3.9 million homes and businesses.

Real-time information

Patrick Erwin, Policy and Markets Director at Northern Powergrid, said: “Our Smart Grid Enablers programme is putting our region at the forefront of the low-carbon revolution.

“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.”

> View Northern Powergrid's announcement