Utility Week

Utility Week 10th January 2014

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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Operations & Assets Pipe up Dave A Roberts "The charging requirements of electric vehicles are placing a growing demand on local electricity networks" T off on Christmas Day. UKPN promised to increase payments from £27 to £75 to those left off supply for 48-60 hours covering Christmas Day. It will make additional payments to those left without electricity for longer than 60 hours, up to a maximum of £432 By New Year's Eve power had been restored to all affected properties. If you have an asset or project you would like to see featured in this slot, please send your pictures and details of the project to: paul.newton@fav-house.com here are 3,500 electric vehicles (EVs) on UK roads today, and according to some predictions this figure could reach 1.6 million by 2020. The electrification of transport will be a foundational pillar in the successful transition to a low carbon economy. Small pockets, or clusters, of EV owners are already forming and the charging requirements of these vehicles are placing a growing demand on local electricity networks. There is enough capacity to deliver power for EV charging across the UK, but if the charging requirements are concentrated in small areas and occur during peak demand, the local network could become overloaded. An overloaded network would mean costly and disruptive work that would affect us directly as customers. At the Low Carbon Networks Fund Conference in November, I presented the latest findings from an ongoing EV project led by EA Technology, called My Electric Avenue. Our involvement in the project is threefold as project It's not just manager, equipment supplier about the total and technical consultant, and we are working collaboratively numbers, it's with SSE Power Distribution, where those other partners. people live, that Nissan and by Ofgem's Low Funded is likely to pose Carbon Networks Fund, the initiative is testing an EV charge a challenge control system called Esprit, developed by EA Technology to monitor and automatically balance out the charging cycles of EVs to manage demand placed on the network. The project required the recruitment of 10 close neighbours per area, each to lease a Nissan Leaf for 18 months. We took a bottom-up approach, involving the coordination of "cluster champions" in local communities. Each took up the challenge of recruiting at least nine other neighbours through leaflet dropping, door knocking and even coffee mornings. Yes, EV uptake figures are still relatively modest, but they are growing and we believe uptake could accelerate in the next few years. But it's not just about the total numbers, it's where those people live, that is likely to pose a challenge to distribution networks. While getting clusters of 10 people on one low-voltage network (about 50 houses) has been a challenge, we've been surprised by the number of clusters of three to seven people that have approached us to take part. Clustering is likely to be a significant issue in the future, making it even more important that we test the technology with real customers now, just as we are doing with My Electric Avenue. Dave A Roberts, future networks director at EA Technology and project director of My Electric Avenue UTILITY WEEK | 10th - 16th January 2014 | 21

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