UK distribution and transmission network operator SP Energy Networks (SPEN) is seeking participants to take part in a major trial of an innovative electric vehicle (EV) charging solution across Cheshire, Merseyside, North Shropshire, and North and Mid-Wales. The trial will evaluate the performance of smart charging connections, which can intelligently control the power consumption of EV chargepoints.
SP Energy Networks is keen to hear from regional businesses, developers and chargepoint operators (CPOs) who are currently considering the installation of chargepoints, and may like to take part in this trial.
This trial is part of the Charge Project, an initiative from SP Energy Networks and its partners EA Technology, PTV Group and Smarter Grid Solutions which aims to accelerate the roll-out of public EV charging infrastructure in the region.
Encouraging more people to drive electric vehicles is a key element of the UK meeting its climate change targets and achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Smart charging connections should help to accelerate this process by enabling more chargepoints to be installed in the same location, making them more attractive to businesses and investors, and thus boosting the country’s EV charging capacity.
A smart charging connection can automatically detect if the CPO needs to reduce chargepoint capacity during periods of peak demand, ensuring the electricity network is never overloaded. It can also increase chargepoint capacity during off-peak periods or when power from alternative sources such as solar PV is available. By intelligently managing demand in this way, a smart charging connection can enable the installation of more chargepoints in a single location without the need for expensive network reinforcements. The flexibility of smart charging connections also means that owners can potentially offer consumers faster or cheaper charging outside periods of peak demand
The next milestone for the Charge Project will be the rollout of the ConnectMore tool, a public-facing web application that will help businesses and local authorities identify suitable sites for new chargepoints and estimate the cost of connecting them to the network.
With EV uptake set to increase, the Charge Project is complementary to other EV industry projects SP Energy Networks is driving. From its EV-Up project, which uses socio-demographic and housing-stock information to understand the probability of EV adoption, to Project PACE, which is running in partnership with the Scottish Government, SP Energy Networks is piloting a DNO (distribution network operator)-led delivery model of publicly-funded universal EV charging infrastructure, in recognition of how critical the electrification of transport will be for the electricity network of the future.