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GE’s Grid Solutions Awarded Contract to Provide Communications Solutions to UK’s Northern Powergrid

GE’s Grid Solutions is proud to announce that we have been awarded a contract to provide UK’s Northern Powergrid (NPg) with communications solutions as part of a large digital transformation project. GE will provide MDS Orbit licensed 100MHz (12.5MHz) radio systems to upgrade NPg’s secondary SCADA system to an Internet Protocol (IP) communications platform across approximately 7,500 distribution substations. This is one of the largest critical infrastructure communications projects in Europe in recent years, and is among the most demanding in terms of security and resiliency requirements.

This project is a critical part of NPg’s ongoing work at the forefront of net zero development and green growth. The company powers everyday life for 8 million people across 3.9 million homes and businesses in the North East of England, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire.

Commenting on the investment, Mark Nicholson, NPg’s Head of Smart Grids, said: “This project will enhance network flexibility and build more digital capability to meet our customers’ needs now and in the future. The ability to remotely operate more of our assets and improve network visibility through collection of real-time monitoring data will help us provide better services to our customers. We can use the IP network to remotely troubleshoot and manage devices across the air, which reduces infrastructure management costs and enables us to be responsive to an active network and the needs of our customers.”

The GE solution is based on the MDS Orbit wireless platform and includes fully redundant Master Stations, ruggedized routers, and MDS PulseNET network management software. The solution allows NPg to monitor and manage in real-time their current and future assets, providing more secure control of their network while enabling capabilities to enhance their customers’ experience.

GE has teamed up with EMR, our official partner for the UK and Ireland, which will be responsible for the overall project providing NPg with all required support and consulting. “The project design offers Northern Powergrid a secure, responsive and fully compliant technical solution, while delivering a robust and easy-to-manage platform for the organization’s team of engineers. Our approach to designing, building, and supporting utility networks is viewed by many utility providers as a critical element of their digital transformation efforts. Organizations such as Northern Powergrid have responded positively, viewing EMR as a safe pair of hands,” said Alan Feenan, Sales Director at EMR.

GE’s Grid Solutions’ Industrial Communications Sales Director, Giovanni Puppo, said: “It has been an exciting journey with a thorough procurement process and a detailed, exhaustive and fully successful proof of concept where 70 units were put under strong testing for months. I am proud to have witnessed the capabilities of both the GE and EMR teams in supporting Northern Powergrid through design, consulting, and in-depth knowledge in the overall end-to-end solution, from the internal substation equipment up to the SCADA platform.”