Aurora: Electric vehicles won’t require new power stations


The UK will not necessarily need to build new power stations even if a third of the cars on the road are electric, according to Aurora Energy Research.

The firm’s modelling suggests time of use tariffs and controlled charging regimes could add as little as half a gigawatt to evening peak demand to handle 10 million EVs by 2035.

Even if owners do not respond to cheaper off peak charges, and most charge their cars when they like, the firm suggests an additional 3GW would handle that scenario.

While 3GWs is a significant amount of generation to power a third of the UK’s cars, it equates to roughly a quarter of the “ten Hinkley Cs” that some claim may be required if all cars were electric.

Others have suggested the UK already has ‘enough spare capacity to electrify every car on the road’.

Aurora’s modelling suggests that smart charging regimes mean EVs can also help absorb power from renewable generators when demand is low. Last year, around 3% of wind power was ‘wasted’ because it couldn’t be accommodated by the power system, and generators are routinely paid constraint fees in those circumstances.

The report also outlines emerging business models for aggregators, energy companies and carmakers. Some of the latter are already calling themselves energy companies as they branch into home energy services.

While the report suggests significant peak demand increases may be avoided through smart charging, distribution network operators acknowledge that they need to make substantial investments to accommodate EVs, potentially in tandem with greater electrification of heat, to meet binding carbon and climate change targets.

See the report’s key findings here.

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