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Northern Powergrid releases tool for councils to identify electric vehicle points


Northern Powergrid has released an online tool to help local authorities in its area find the best locations for electric vehicle (EV) connections.

The electricity distribution company for North-East England, North Lincolnshire and Yorkshire is making the tool, named AutoDesign, freely available to the local authorities within its licensing area, as part of the effort to extend the capacity for EVs.

It is based on network data taken from Northern Powergrid’s eSpatial asset system along with existing customer data. A spokesperson said that combining these systems make it possible to model the low voltage network and inform users where the capacity may be available for connections, using a green/amber/red indicator for specific locations.

It also enables users to obtain an indicative connection cost in minutes instead of the usual 10-day turnaround.

They can access the tool through a number of routes on the company’s website – including the Get Connected section and Network Data page – and there is a dedicated CRM system through which they can create an account.

Northern Powergrid said this will enable users to explore their connection options and quickly create budget estimates, supporting informed decisions about where to connect and providing more transparency around network capacity.

Clean transport boost

Derek Fairbairn, the company’s systems design manager, said: “It will enable local authorities, EV installers and businesses planners to see, in a matter of minutes, the best locations to install chargers and the associated cost. This newly available network data intelligence will significantly improve the EV connections process and help accelerate the clean transport transition.”

He added: “The electrification of transport is essential if we are to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and our future scenarios show that the rate of EV growth will be significant. We want to actively support the EV transition and ensure our network meets the future needs of our customers and the communities we serve.”

Approximately three quarters of local authorities across Northern Powergrid’s patch have declared a climate emergency and are looking for next steps to reduce emissions.

The spokesperson said the firm is looking at how AutoDesign could be used for other types of options appraisals, such as identifying low voltage generation connections.

Image from Noya Fields, CC BY 2.0

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