Jan 2019
Electricity Distribution
Jan 2019
May 2021
UK Power Networks, Eastern Power Networks, London Power Networks and South Eastern Power Networks
Athanasios Zarogiannis
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Network Innovation Allowance
ED - Transition to low carbon future and ED - New technologies and commercial evolution
Commercial, Electric Vehicles and LV & 11kV Networks
Electric vehicle (EV) uptake is set to surge, and to enable this we must either reinforce the network or will need customers to be flexible around when they charge their cars. Indicatively, without flexible arrangements, we expect to see peak demand growing approximately up to 10% at secondary substations by the end of RIIO-ED1 and up to 30% by the end of the 2030s. This is based on the load impact analysis done at Recharge the Future project at primary substation level, which was then translated into secondary substation level. The majority of this growth will be driven by the uptake of EVs connecting to the LV network. This is an unprecedented pace of growth that will require a step-change in the way we manage the LV network. In the absence of smart solutions, this growth in demand will trigger the need for reinforcement on the network which will be paid by network customers.

UK Power Networks is strategically looking at procuring flexibility as alternative to traditional reinforcement and is adopting a ‘flexibility first’ approach to delivering additional network capacity, which will lead to lower costs and increased renewable energy on the network through more competition. In this context, UK Power Networks has a key role in stimulating the market for flexible services and helping to reduce customers’ bills.

Specifically, smart charging of EVs has the potential to unlock flexibility at LV level, therefore deferring a proportion of the required reinforcement associated with the uptake of EVs. UK Power Networks’ project Smart Charging Architecture Roadmap (SmartCAR) has developed feasible designs for market-led smart charging. However, this has not  yet been demonstrated in practice, therefore it is now the time to engage with the market and mobilise trials to explore how these designs will work in reality, and to deploy the smart solutions required on network level to enable smart charging.
This project aims to:

1. Stimulate the development of market-led smart charging solutions, working with market participants to develop, enable and trial attractive customer propositions
2. Develop and test processes, systems components and commercial arrangements to enable these propositions
3. Understand customer response to the designed propositions and network impacts in a controlled environment
4. Develop a scalable solution that can be expanded to a larger volume of customers and drive benefit ahead of regulatory reforms, and
5. Inform Ofgem’s longer-term access and network charging reform.