EA Technology comment on Green Alliance report ‘People power – How consumer choice is changing the UK energy system’

EA Technology[1] welcomes the Green Alliance’s recent report People Power – How consumer choice is changing the UK energy system.’[2], as referenced in a number of media outlets on 20 April 2017. In particular, it welcomes the prominence that the report gives to the work that Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) are doing to manage electric vehicle (EV) uptake; Scottish and Southern Electricity Network (SSEN) and EA Technology’s My Electric Avenue[3] project is referred to on page 25 of the report: “Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks are trialling demand side response EV charging to shift demand away from peak times.”

Background

The My Electric Avenue project ran from 2012 to 2015 and provides the evidence of EV impact on local electricity networks; the good news is that it also successfully trialled a demand control solution that was accepted by its 100 trial participants over an 18 month period. Key messages from My Electric Avenue and current EV demand management projects are:

  • Distribution Network Operators are working ahead of need through projects such as My Electric Avenue, Smart EV and Electric Nation to deliver smart solutions to facilitate EV uptake on local electricity networks
  • My Electric Avenue evidenced the impact of clusters of electric vehicles (EVs) on local electricity networks, finding that across Britain 32% of local electricity networks will require intervention when 40% – 70% of customers have EVs
  • New technology could reduce the cost, avoiding the need for disruptive network reinforcement, by at least £2.2 billion up to 2050
  • My Electric Avenue showed that demand management / smart charging solutions work to alleviate the stress placed on electricity networks by EVs – and that customers accept having their EVs managed
  • Customers lie at the heart of all DNO network innovation projects – a customer messaging strategy is being developed under the Smart EV project to engage customers in the concept of managed, or smart, EV charging

EA Technology, a power engineering company with over 50 years’ experience in supporting energy networks to become more cost-effective and reliable, has been working closely with GB’s Distribution Network Operators since 2012 to ensure that local electricity networks across the country will be capable of facilitating the unprecedented uptake in EVs. Working ahead of need, a number of DNOs have funded pioneering network innovation projects to evidence impact of clusters of EVs on local (Low Voltage) electricity networks, to demonstrate and understand customer acceptance of demand management of EV charging to manage and alleviate stress on networks, and to develop smart charging and, potentially, vehicle to grid solutions to further capitalise on the opportunities afforded by managed EV charging. Furthermore DNOs, Government and key stakeholders across automotive, utilities, energy and customer groups have come together to determine when and how managed EV charging could be deployed in order to avoid disruption to customers.

It is worth summarising the key EV-network demand management projects in the UK:

My Electric Avenue (2012 – 2015)   

Trailblazer trial deployment of electric vehicle demand control technology to assess and mitigate impact of EV clusters on local electricity networks (>200 customers engaged)

Smart EV (2016 – 2017)        

Cross-sectoral stakeholder management to achieve cross-industry consensus on standardised mechanism to facilitate EV uptake on local electricity distribution networks

Electric Nation (2016 – 2019)       

Trial of complex smart charging demand control technologies across wide range of EV types (battery capacities and charging capacities); customer acceptance across 500-700 trial participants

EV Network Group (2016 – 2018)

Cross-sectoral Group established by EA Technology to promote technological and infrastructural needs, in order to maximise the number of electric miles by 2030 in the most cost efficient way; supported by the UK Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles.

These projects provide the very latest data and information, both technical and behavioural, on EV impact on electricity networks and managed EV charging, from customer acceptance through mass customer trials of smart and managed charging, to collaborative work with UK Government on new standards for smart charging.

Demand side measures will be required to manage EV charging, and the great news is that DNOs and cross-industry stakeholders are now coming together to work towards solutions to mitigate impact. The smart solutions will be delivered ahead of any detrimental impacts on the networks, or to customers.

The future is bright when it comes to EVs – and keeping our lights on.

[1] EA Technology is the recognised UK authority on the impact of electric vehicles (EVs) on the electricity network, and the pioneer of smart solutions to mitigate this impact: https://www.eatechnology.com/

[2] http://www.green-alliance.org.uk/resources/People_power_how_consumer_choice_is_changing_UK_energy_system.pdf

[3] http://myelectricavenue.info/