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Author Topic: 1/3 of UK's grid can't cope with increased EV adoption  (Read 2214 times)
dan_b
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« on: December 07, 2015, 11:40:10 AM »

http://www.edie.net/news/6/1-3-of-Britains-power-networks-could-be-overloaded-by-electric-vehicle-charging/29436/

Grid capacity issues if more widespread adoption of EVs happens.
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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2015, 12:14:35 PM »

Whilst I accept that there may be issues, especially at the evening peak of 1700-1900 or so, this comes across to me as 'we have a problem and someone else must pay for it because we failed to plan for it'.

The article also has the seeds of a solution with smart chargers cutting back charging at peak periods.

My understanding is that most domestic charging points are either 16 amp or 32 amp outlets.  My Outlander charges at 16amp max.  It is unclear what charger output the article is assuming.  Of course it may be different when and if there are the fast half hour chargers installed in domestic locations.  But I am sure diversity will be a part of the solution.

The DNOs should be welcoming the opportunity to sell more electricity and upgrade their net works accordingly instead of bleating that they can not cope because they have underinvested in the past.
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« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2015, 02:52:23 PM »

"The researchers, including energy companies and EV manufacturers, found that 32% of Britainís local electricity networks would require intervention thanks to dangerously low spare capacity when 40% - 70% of customers have EVs."

Looks like a problem that is many years in the future 2025-2030 ?. Personally, I have my car set on a timer to charge from 2am - 6am from a 32a supply. I don't have E7 yet, so it more about doing my little bit for not clobbering the grid at 5pm; and the grid is much cleaner overnight with gas and coal backed off. Not sure how community spirited many of the general public might be to taking a more sensible approach to charging. I suspect many will plug in as soon as they get home so some kind of restrictions or 3rd party control will have to eventually be put in place. 7kw x 25 million cars will be one hell of a demand surge to cope with.
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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2015, 03:05:59 PM »

At least someone's flagging the issue in advance to allow for some planning - which is unusual in the UK!
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« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2015, 03:38:44 PM »

Don't be so hard on the DNOs, its not easy having a monopoly and a captive customer base. It's also very hard shifting those profits off to parent companies offshore to work around Ofgem...
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Ted
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« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2015, 05:35:40 PM »

OFGEM administer something called the Low Carbon Network Fund which allows DNOs to bid for funding from the government for innovative projects such as EV charging solutions. DNOs have to fund very little R&D themselves.

http://www.smarternetworks.org/ProjectList.aspx?TechnologyID=5
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« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2015, 07:29:21 PM »

Don't be so hard on the DNOs, its not easy having a monopoly and a captive customer base. It's also very hard shifting those profits off to parent companies offshore to work around Ofgem...

Quite! I think only SSE Power Distribution is the only one left in UK ownership (covering South East and parts of Scotland).

Ted mentioned the LCNF programme to fund innovation by DNOs....whilst to be fair the pace of change in DNOs has to be fairly deliberate, it will be interesting to see how many of the funded projects ever make it into operational service in the "owning" DNO and further afield. I suspect some of the DNO "Future Networks" teams have a tough job convincing the operational and finance teams of the need for change....

The new regulatory model for DNOs ("RIIO" - Revenue=Incentives+Innovation+Outputs) overseen by OFGEM has some interesting developments - the LCNF funding continues in concept at least (well, with at least a change of name) but more importantly it introduces significant (potential) rewards for improving the network, its costs, and the way it is operated - and some meaningful penalties if key outcomes are not met. Be equally interesting to see how OFGEM uses its new levers too...being even slightly more interventionist might address the constant issues mentioned in the OP.

Some real opportunities there for the DNOs who successfully deploy innovation, hopefully to the benefit of UK electricity customers as well as overseas shareholders...

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« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2015, 08:10:50 PM »

You have to love the way that this has been written

     "Sales of plug-in cars have increased by 716% over the past two years"

Well yes, but that means from about 3,500 to maybe about 24,000 by the end of this year. Also the growth is mainly in hybrids, rather than true all-electric cars so the battery capacity of the hybrids is a lot smaller. I can only guess, but I would say that many owners will have also switched to E7 tariffs so that they charge their cars between 12 and 7am. Also if you change the date range to 1 year then growth is just 165%.

     "The researchers, including energy companies and EV manufacturers, found that 32% of Britainís local electricity networks would require intervention thanks to dangerously low spare capacity when 40% - 70% of customers have EVs."

Last year the total number of cars sold in the UK was about 2.5M and there are about 35M cars in the UK. So even if all cars sold were EV based it would take nearly 6 years before we get into this 'dangerously low spare capacity'. Or to put it another way the UK will have to start purchasing 2 and a half times the total number of electric cars so far sold worldwide each year for the next 6 years.

Even if we manage to purchase all these cars the problem will not be the power grid as we will have smart meters by then to spread the load, the real problem will be the total lack of power generation available to deliver such a large electric power requirement at any time during the day. 
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« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2015, 09:17:18 PM »

Im sure that EV takeup by commercial operators (buses, lorries etc) will bring a more rapid increase in demand than that being forecast for domestic car users alone.
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« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2015, 09:43:40 PM »

Im sure that EV takeup by commercial operators (buses, lorries etc) will bring a more rapid increase in demand than that being forecast for domestic car users alone.

I can guarantee the operators of such vehicle will be E7 type power services, so their demand will not hit the grid during the evening peak. Such customers are also likely to be the first to sign up to any business variable price plans offered once the smart grid network get going.

 
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« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2015, 10:36:14 PM »

It's inevitable that we need to massively upgrade the grid, IF we ever get our act together and decarbonise we'll have to rely on electricity for the majority of our energy demand longish term. Short term plans look almost non-existant to me.

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RIT
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« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2015, 11:55:35 PM »

There is a lot planned, with National Grid wanting to do vast amounts and Ofgem limiting the plans to keep the costs under control. The last funding settlement was I think agreed back in 2012 and was aimed to last until 2021. At the time National Grid wanted about £20 added to average annual energy bills and they got £12. This all took place at the same time the government was talking a lot about limiting the growth of bills, so my guess is that we are currently under funding the work required. As such it is likely the issue will come to a head in 2020 at about the same time as the election takes place, with all parties stating that they will limit the cost rises and so cause even longer term under funding. 
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TheFairway
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« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2015, 08:47:19 AM »

Im sure that EV takeup by commercial operators (buses, lorries etc) will bring a more rapid increase in demand than that being forecast for domestic car users alone.

I can guarantee the operators of such vehicle will be E7 type power services, so their demand will not hit the grid during the evening peak. Such customers are also likely to be the first to sign up to any business variable price plans offered once the smart grid network get going.
They will be taking their power at point of use, topping up from in road infrastructure. Unless people want to commute in the middle of the night or the road industry wants to time shift its whole operations, their energy consumption will span peak times. What is not clear is whether the type of energy consumed at these times can be controlled, but if for instance, buses cannot run on 'clean' energy during their peak periods, then there may be no economic case for them to adopt cleaner (at the tailpipe) technology.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2015, 08:48:50 AM by TheFairway » Logged
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