Jan 2020
Electricity Distribution
DC Share
WPDEN04
Live
Jan 2020
Apr 2022
Western Power Distribution and Western Power Distribution East Midlands
Ricky Duke
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Network Innovation Competition
ED - New technologies and commercial evolution
Asset Management, Comms & IT, Control Systems, Electric Vehicles and Protection
£5,629,000.00
This project will assist with the facilitation of rapid EV charging equipment by providing appropriate network connections where they are needed, whilst making optimal use of the available network capacity.

The connection costs for rapid EV charging facilities are a critical consideration for developers. Provision of rapid charging facilities is key to the uptake of electric vehicles (particularly for fleets and urban delivery services) and hence high connection costs in some areas could be seen as a potential barrier to the uptake of EVs. Users must be able to charge their EVs in a manner that is at least as convenient as current refuelling methods, which means minimum dwell time, or opportunity charging where vehicles may stop.

DC share is a smart DC network solution that facilitates rapid charging in constrained areas by using the available latent capacity across a number of substations. The solution will mesh a number of distribution substations, with DC converters and high capacity DC links. The DC system will then determine the best point to draw power from for the charger and it will also support heavily loaded transformers.
This project will assist with rapid EV charging requirements by providing facilities where they are needed, whilst making optimal use of the available network capacity.

The Problem
The connection costs for rapid EV charging facilities are a critical consideration for developers. Provision of rapid charging facilities is key to their uptake (particularly for fleets and urban delivery services) and hence high connection costs will be a barrier to the uptake of EVs. Users must be able to charge their EVs in a manner that is at least as convenient as current refuelling methods.

The Solution
A Smart network solution that allows rapid charging by using the available capacity across a number of substations. The solution will determine the best connection point to draw power from and will also support heavily loaded transformers.
There are significant benefits to implementing power systems with more flexibility, enabling dynamic optimisation of use of existing assets, and providing capacity where it is needed. Once implemented, the DC Share solution will result in:

  • Significant financial, capacity, and carbon benefits associated with the EV charging network and optimisation over multiple substations – These financial, capacity, and carbon benefits have been quantified through business case modelling, as described below:
 - £162m in direct financial benefits up to 2050 across GB, which will benefit the customer though network savings resulting in lower customer bills, and through enabling access to more infrastructure at a lower cost.
 - 1,800 MVA capacity released up to 2050 across GB
 - 26,000 tCO2e of direct savings up to 2050 across GB
  • Substantial indirect carbon and environmental benefits through supporting the uptake of EVs and the connection of LCTs – The availability of charging is a significant enabler of the uptake of EVs, and the release of capacity through real-time active management can enable the connection of LCTs at a lower cost. There are substantial environmental benefits, including 21 tCO2e carbon savings through electrification of each passenger car and 67 tCO2e through electrification of each taxi (based on average mileage and fuel/energy consumption figures). This reduction in carbon emissions will have substantial impact on air quality in the GB as the vehicle part transfers, and DC share will facilitate this through provision of rapid charging facilities.
  • Minimise the impact of significant clusters of rapid charge points on the network - As part of the DC Share solution, rapid charging points can be managed and optimised as part of the wider DC solution, taking advantage of flexibility in charging time and minimising the peak demand on the network.
  • Increased network flexibility – The provision of flexible methods enables increasing uncertainty to be managed more effectively, optimising power flow in real time to react to changing network demands and providing real-time controllable support to the wider AC network.
  • Future-proofing of the network infrastructure and avoidance of stranded assets – The solution can provide future-proofing through enabling the connection of future DC loads, generation and storage to established DC Share solutions. The topology of a DC Share solution can expand and adapt over time to meet the changing future needs of the customers. Under-utilised substations can be connected to the DC network, allowing them to provide additional capacity to the system and enabling avoidance of stranded assets.
  • Network control benefits – Additional network control benefits using Power Electronics may be enabled through the solution, such as the ability to actively manage network voltage and power flows, which can offer customers improved quality of supply which can be maintained through changing network conditions.
  • Reduced Losses – Charger losses are lower in DC Fed EV Charge points, by virtue of the simplified architecture of the devices. System losses are also lower in the DC Share case than in the “Soft Open Point” and “Solid State Transformer” cases, due to the reduction in conversions between AC and DC. Losses can also be minimised on the DC Share system, by actively managing power flows (when possible) to minimise current in the parts of the network most susceptible to losses, and by switching off converters when not required for use.

DC Share is well aligned to the Western Power Distribution, Electricity North West and overarching ENA innovation strategy, of facilitating change. DC Share will provide a coordinated approach to the deployment of EV charging points, whilst also using smart technologies to maximise capacity within the power system.