Network September 2019

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NETWORK / 37 / SEPTEMBER 2019 Making our fleet greener is an additional benefit. Managing charging We believe that the UK's net- works are already well placed to support the mass adoption of EVs. A typical electric car might consume 10kWhrs a day. If that demand is spread across the day and the country, and if charging is managed properly, distribution networks – at least in Northern Powergrid's service area – will be able to meet the extra demand from EVs with minimal new investment. However, if we don't properly manage charging and we allow it to be concentrated at particu - lar times of day, or in places with limited capacity, EVs will disrupt our networks, making peak demand more difficult to manage and adding cost to the system. But we are more ambitious than simply avoiding a problem. We want our customers to be able to extract the maximum value from their vehicles and use EVs (and other energy as - sets) to provide flexibility to the system, help manage energy supply, and make the electric- ity supplies to their homes and businesses more resilient at times of stress. They will be able to help keep their own, and their communities', lights on. We think this is important to help move to lower carbon energy sources, but also to max - imise affordability and wider sustainability. If we can harness the energy in EVs to provide energy storage for a wider energy system, we will need less expensive, resource-intensive dedicated storage, and fewer carbon emitting peaking plants on our system. That's why we're calling on industry, regulators and policy makers to act now to ensure our energy system is prepared to cope with the demands and embrace the opportunities of the EV transition. In order to deliver this, we must first solve the EV charg - ing jigsaw. Where should we charge? How should we charge? How can we manage mass charging at peak times? From a network perspec- tive, by far the best answer to that first question is to focus on home, work and destination charging. This typically lower rate charging will enable net- work operators to better manage peak charging times and delay expensive network upgrades. Car manufacturers also tell us that lower rate charging is better for the EV and its battery. For long distance journeys or for those without off-street parking, rapid on-route charging has a role but should be comple - mentary to home charging and not constitute the bulk of EV infrastructure. Drivers would also benefit in this scenario. Imagine leav - ing the house every morning with a full tank of petrol – how o•en would you have to drive to a traditional petrol fore - court? Almost never. The same principle can be applied to EVs. As they become common place, everyone with a charger at home will leave each morning with a full tank, therefore reducing the need to fill up with more expensive, less convenient, and less sustainable rapid chargers. Slower charging can actually save you time. Infrastructure is key The government strengthened the case for this argument even further by requiring all government funded EV home and workplace chargepoints to be smart by July this year. National Grid predicts that 75 per cent of EVs could be using smart charging by 2050. Smart charging allows chargepoints to respond to network demand and lets customers choose when to charge. For example, the charge - points can be programmed to only turn on when energy is at its cheapest. This cuts bills for the customer and reduces peak demand, allowing network operators to manage the grid more effectively. This process reduces peaks of electricity demand, reducing the need for new generators, and minimises DECARBONISATION OF TRANSPORT the strain of charging EVs on the electricity system, reducing the need for new electricity network infrastructure. All this keeps costs down for consumers. Taking this one step further, Northern Powergrid supports the Government's recent deci - sion to legislate that all new homes must be built with EV chargers as standard. 2 The cost benefits of providing this infrastructure at the new build stage – rather than expensive retrofitting in the future that may require roads to be dug up – cannot be overstated. This is especially pertinent as we undergo one of the most rapid home building exercises in our history in order to tackle the ongoing housing crisis. DNOs like Northern Power - grid are in the perfect position to provide reliable advice to planners, developers and local authorities if this legislation were to be introduced. In fact, we're already doing just that. Earlier this year, we launched a series of local authority events, providing a platform for local authority employees in our ser - vice area to come together and explore the pressing issues they face around installing EV charg- ing infrastructure. We're also in the process of developing a new online, self-service tool to give near-instant budget estimates for new EV charging connec - tions. It will guide users to the most cost effective and realistic connection option i.e. where suitable capacity is available on the distribution network. Some local authorities have been given hands on access to try out the tool already, giving us valu - able feedback as we prepare to roll out the tool more widely. Using existing technology and network assets, such as EVs, to support the grid and postpone expensive network upgrades is the cornerstone of Northern Powergrid's DSO vison. However, this can only be done if EV charging is properly managed. By encouraging home and destination charging, while minimising costly, energy inten - sive en-route rapid charging, we can not only cope with mass EV adoption, we can keep charg- ing costs as low as possible. Moreover, by ensuring that these chargers are internet con- nected, we open ourselves up to an intelligent and manageable EV charging system that's able to create a resilient customer- centric network, minimising the need for expensive network up - grades and helping to increase the share of renewable energy on the grid. These policies would culti - vate a resilient, smart, renew- able and affordable energy network and distribute the ben- efits of EVs to all in society, not just the privileged few that are able to afford the new technol- ogy. Policy makers should make these changes today to proac- tively prepare our energy system for the coming wave of EVs. References: 1. National Grid: Fu- ture Energy Scenarios 2019: http:// fes-2019.pdf 2. ment/news/electric-car-charge- points-to-be-installed-in-all- future-homes-in-world-first

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