Government urged to develop smart charging systems for EVs

Energy UK lays out raft of recommendations to manage demand spikes ahead of mass EV take-up

Energy UK has urged the government to offer support for developing smart charging arrangements – such as time of use tariffs - to manage the spikes in grid demand resulting from mass adoption of electric vehicles.

In the first of a series of reports into how the energy system can adapt to electric vehicles, the trade body said the UK must accelerate the creation of the infrastructure that the mass take-up of electric vehicles will require.

The report, published today (September 14th) by the Energy UK Electric Vehicle Group, said the additional demand created by electric vehicles must be managed in order to mitigate risks to networks.

This could include using time of use tariffs to encourage electric vehicle charging at specific times and avoid increases in peak demand, as well as technical solutions such as smart managed charging.

The report added that using smart meters alongside smart charging should be considered to mitigate the risks of spikes in demand.

The flipside of increased demand, according to the report is that electric vehicles could become mobile batteries.

“Electric vehicles could provide the energy system with large much needed geographically distributed energy storage capacity,” said Energy UK.

The report also made several further recommendations to government. These include:

  • The creation of a regulatory framework to provide certainty for future investment.
  • Supporting and incentivising the development of charging infrastructure through the forthcoming Electric and Autonomous Vehicle Bill and Clean Growth Plan
  • Offering more support for innovation and the ability to share usage data to assist with future infrastructure planning.

Energy UK chief executive Lawrence Slade said: "Electric vehicles are the perfect catalyst for a smarter grid that cuts carbon emissions and empowers consumers. Car owners could benefit financially from EVs' ability to store and supply power back to the grid which shows how the way we all use energy in the future could be transformed.

"However, the full integration of electric vehicles into UK's energy infrastructure is a challenge that demands a 'whole system' approach. It requires ambition, close cooperation across several sectors and a vision that is based around empowering and benefitting the consumer.

"Issues like managing demand will need to be tackled but the prize is substantial - everything from the air that we breathe through to the manufacturing and tech sector's stand to benefit.

"We are ready to lead the sector but we need government to support this with a clear and sustained vision, which will drive the investment, changes and services required to bring about a revolution

The Energy UK Electric Vehicle Group includes representatives from British Gas, Ecotricity, E.ON, EDF Energy, ESB, Haven Power, National Grid, Npower, OVO Energy, Scottish Power and SSE.

Its next report, which will be published in late 2017, will look in more detail at the design of smarter and more integrated power grids and how to mitigate the demand risks posed by electric vehicles.

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