Glasgow-based clean energy technology company, Smarter Grids Solutions (SGS), will work with SP Energy Networks to explore ways to facilitate the charging of electric vehicles (EV) at public venues, service stations and homes without off-road parking.
As well as lead partner SP Energy Networks, SGS will also collaborate with traffic software provider PTV Group and consultancy and technology firm EA Technology on the £8.5 million “Charge” Network Innovation Competition (NIC) project.
As part of the NIC project, EV technology and procedures will be trialled in Liverpool, North Wales and parts of Cheshire and Shropshire, which if successful could then be rolled out across the UK.
SGS seeks to remedy two of the biggest barriers holding back the rollout of EVs; how to charge cars at home when the owners don’t have their own driveways; and how to charge EVs at public locations such as shopping centres, event venues, tourists attractions, as well as filling stations and motorway stops.
To do this, SGS will investigate a number of smart charging solutions including staggered charging on a street-by-street basis, timed charging schedules, and controlling charging rate based on network measurements. According to SGS, these solutions will enable the easier and cheaper connection of high numbers of EV chargers to the electricity networks.
Other possible solutions include tying the chargers to electricity storage batteries within the homes and linking them to flexible and low carbon technologies such as solar panels, wind turbines or utility-scale batteries connected to the wider grid.
Driven by the UK Government’s plan to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, the need to find effective EV charging solutions is accelerating rapidly. It’s expected EVs will be the dominant form of transport by 2050, if not sooner, which means the demand for charging cars, vans and lorries will only increase.
Graham Ault, founder and Executive Director at Smarter Grid Solutions, said: “Electric vehicles will revolutionise not just vehicle transport but Great Britain’s electricity grid. Project Charge is a significant step forward in making sure that the electricity networks will cope with the extra demand.”
“Our Distributed Energy Resources Management System (DERMS) software is already being used by the companies that run the local electricity distribution networks to manage the grid with more connected renewable energy devices like wind turbines and solar panels, along with the growing number of batteries and other flexible devices. The ability to manage EV charging in parallel with all of those other low carbon technologies has great value in the flexible, cleaner, smarter power grid.”
Laura Kane, SGS project lead, said “Winning this contract under Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition is a significant achievement for SGS because it recognises how useful our software will be in tackling the challenges that lie ahead for the grid from the revolution in electric transportation.
“The days of petrol and diesel vehicles as the norm are coming to an end and this project will help to make sure network operators effectively identify where there is available capacity on the network for developers to create EV charge hubs.”
Scott Mathieson, Director of Network Planning & Regulation at SPEN, said: “Working with innovative companies like Smarter Grid Solutions is essential if we’re going to respond to the challenges of connecting electric vehicles to the grid.
“Charge is an exciting project that will test many potential solutions in Liverpool, North Wales and the surrounding areas.
“Once we know which combination of technology and commercial solutions and procedures works best then SP Energy Networks will be able to help other network operators to roll them out across the whole country.
“Drivers need to know they can charge their cars at home, and when out in their local community or further afield, and our Charge project will help to give them the reassurances they need.”