10 October 2023
EA Technology, together with the project partners Northern Powergrid, Energy Systems Catapult, Newcastle NHS Trust, City of York Council, Kensa Contracting and Renewable Energy Network, have been successful in winning funding for the Alpha stage of the Inform project. This 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. The project aims to develop a self-serve, online, HV connections tool to be hosted on Nothern Powergrid’s website, for use by developers of complex sites.
This project builds on an earlier SIF feasibility phase, during which benefits analysis was performed which revealed the development of the tool would enable faster connections of Low Carbon Technologies (focussing particularly on heat pumps) accelerating the transition of complex sites to Net Zero operation. The Alpha stage will build upon the successful discovery stage, and will involve the development of a proof-of-concept tool that aims to demonstrate key, novel optioneering functionality to give site developers options to reduce connection costs via methods such as energy efficiency and on-site energy storage.
The project will utilise an agile methodology to develop the online software tool, which EA Technology has successfully deployed to deliver self-serve connection tools for multiple GB DNOs. Regular feedback sessions will be held with stakeholders to ensure that the tool is fit for purpose and easy to use.
EA Technology will draw on their previous experience in developing online self-serve connection tools such as AutoDesign and ConnectMore, to ensure efficient delivery. 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.
This phase consisted of a benefits analysis to determine the anticipated scale of the benefits of the tool. A compelling case for developing the Inform tool was identified, with savings offered through avoided connection budget estimate fees, reduced demand on network planners, and reductions in energy demand due to efficiency measures. In addition, significant environmental benefits through accelerated heat decarbonisation were identified. This phase also conducted stakeholder engagement to understand the requirements of future tool uses for the tool, allowing us to optimise the tool development to deliver maximum benefits at greatest ease of use to the end users.
EA Technology is always looking for ways in which it can assist in the transition to net zero. Self serve connection tools have been proven to provide efficient methods to accelerate connections of low carbon technologies to the electricity grid. This tool aims to go further, and demonstrate that it can also help reduce connection costs via its optioneering functionality. For further information regarding EA Technology’s self-serve software solutions, or for information regarding any other service or product EA Technology can provide, please Contact Us.