Electric Vehicle Chargers and Grid Stability: A Future Power System

Camlin Energy, 13th June 2023

We’re delighted to have had the opportunity to work with the Energy Systems Catapult on hosting a roundtable earlier this year to discuss the risks and opportunities for the Grid linked with the mass adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

Together with ESC we hosted this roundtable discussion with stakeholders to explore the technical problems and opportunities faced on the Distribution Networks today, and those that may occur in the future due to increased requirements for Low Carbon Technology (LCT).

The workshop was held with key industry stakeholders in bid to form a proactive approach in identifying key blockers to wider adoption of LCTs, in this case, Electric Vehicle chargers, before the issues may arise in the future.

The roundtable discussion was hosted by ESC, on our behalf and was attended by:

  • National Grid ESO (NGESO) - The GB Transmission System Operator
  • National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) - Owner of Electricity Transmission assets in England and Wales
  • Sygensys
  • SP Energy Networks (SPEN)
  • National Grid Electricity Distribution (NGED, formerly WPD)

Furthering discussions from a discovery project and other projects exploring these areas such as Project REV (Resilient Electric Vehicle), the group joined together to pose the question, “What risks and opportunities could the mass adoption of Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) chargers present to the Grid at both a Local and Transmission level?”

The key messages from the roundtable have been summarised in the text below.

Growing Demands on the Grid

At present there are approximately 40,000 Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) in the UK, a number expected to rise to between 8-12 million BEVs by 2030 with NGESO estimating this number to increase to 37.4 Million BEVs by 2050. With this increase in energy demand and requirements of the network, there are various unknowns and potential opportunities to be explored.

The team identified four areas where further innovation and collaboration could empower the future grid.

EV & Grid Stability - Priority Areas

  1. Grid Visibility - Creating greater visibility of events and customer behaviour across the network.
  2. Funding, Incentives, Regulation & Standards - Knowing where and when to invest, within a clear but comprehensive regulatory framework. Increasing levels of new technology will be deployed at lower voltages levels of the grid, exploring how these can affect these frameworks is essential.
  3. Flexibility, Transitory Events & V2G - Systems flexibility to defer system reinforcement, potential for incentivised movement of BEV’s for one off events and to opt into flexible V2G services.
  4. ESO DNO Communication & Coordination - Bridging the communication gap between the ESO and DSO and DNO networks. Create a system that’s going to be secure, low carbon and affordable.

Samir Alilat, Head of Innovation & Business Development here at Kelvatek said “As more electric vehicles come online, there is essential work to be done to prepare the UK’s grid for the increased requirements of low carbon technology. In bringing together Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), the National Grid and other core stakeholders working on these issues, the roundtable provided a fantastic forum for generating cross-sector recommendations to manage the potential network risks associated with the growth in EVs. Moving ahead, Kelvatek will look to build on these recommendations, working in partnership across the sector to deliver innovative technologies which build the resilience and flexibility of the UK’s grid in support of our net zero ambitions.”

If you’re interested in joining these discussions, or potentially collaborating in future projects, please email Samir at [email protected].

Kelvatek will be one of the panellists at ESC’s Energy Launchpad Live: Networks, a networking event on July 20th bringing together innovators and stakeholders.

Please email [email protected] if you’re interested in attending or being one of the panellists.