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EV Smart Charging in the UK: Our response to Government Consultation

This post and consultation response has been written by Dr Laura Kane, Senior Consultant, and Dr Graham Ault, Executive Director, from Smarter Grid Solutions

Smarter Grid Solutions welcomes the focus of the Department for Transport (DfT) thinking and the deepening of the measures for smart charging as the normal paradigm for EV charging. Smart charging is an important area of both EV market growth and of the development of the smart, flexible, economic and secure power and energy system.

The consultation focuses on introducing new requirements and standards for private EV charge points with the intention of ensuring that all private charge points have ‘smart’ capabilities to allow greater levels of control and visibility in the wider system. The focus of the consultation is on non-public charging only – understandably there is a wish to focus on this in the first instance but many of the same principles developed for non-public EV charging can be applied to public and other EV charging infrastructure in due course. The expectation of coordinated, smart charging on all EV charging will set the course for better outcomes for EV customers and the whole energy system.

There is good coverage in the consultation of many salient issues with EV smart charging with both a practical emphasis for short-term progress as well as forward looking aspects. Focusing on cyber security, safety, interoperability, smart technical functionality (such as applying a randomised delay in alignment with SMETS2 smart meter specification) at device level can enable multiple integration options (through interoperability) to horizontally and vertically connected systems and for adaptation to future customer needs and business models (e.g. V2G and defaults on installation to address peak and off-peak charging). In terms of future looking propositions, it’s important to consider both technical and customer focused issues such as smart meter control of EV charge points using existing smart meter infrastructure capabilities, and customer choice and protections through energy market reforms and assurances within flexibility markets.

On the issue of data, the topics of minimum data sets, protections and regulations are necessary and we emphasise the Energy Data Task Force key principle that data should be made available wherever and whenever possible (with necessary and appropriate safeguards) to enable new business models and effective flexible system operations. The timeliness, scope and access to data is crucial to enable different grid operation (and planning) functions and support innovative business models. One way to achieve this is by ensuring appropriate data management structures are established by charge point operators. One example is to look at the Smart Meter roll out and how they have managed the rights to, and storage of, consumer data.Public charge point infrastructure is something we are exploring as part of the Network Innovation Competition ‘Charge’ project with partners SP Energy Networks, EA Technology Ltd and PTV. We willdeliver trials of smart EV charging in the Merseyside and North Wales area for different public charge point use cases – including on-street parking for home owners without off-street parking (such as those living in flats or terraced housing), shopping centres, multi-storey car parks, taxi ranks, and motorway service stations. We’ll be exploring the potential to use different managed charging approaches to avoid costly network reinforcements, which can often also cause lengthy delays to facilitating connections. Getting public charge points connected to the distribution network is crucial to enable local authorities and the UK government to meet ambitious carbon reduction targets and to allow the UK to transition towards a zero carbon future. These trials can help to identify where and how managed charging can be used to help this.

We look forward to integrating the outcomes of the DfT smart charging standards into the whole system management of EV charging with low carbon energy.