SP Energy Networks seeks participants for major electric vehicle charging trial


SP Energy Networks is seeking participants to take part in a major trial of an innovative electric vehicle (EV) charging solution across Cheshire, Merseyside, North Shropshire, and North and Mid-Wales. The trial will evaluate the performance of ‘smart charging connections’, which can intelligently control the power consumption of EV chargepoints.

SP Energy Networks is keen to hear from regional businesses, developers and chargepoint operators (CPOs) who are currently considering the installation of chargepoints, and may like to take part in this trial. This trial is part of the Charge Project, an initiative from SP Energy Networks and its partners EA Technology, PTV Group and Smarter Grid Solutions which aims to accelerate the roll-out of public EV charging infrastructure in the region.

Geoff Murphy, lead for the Charge Project at SP Energy Networks, said: “Creating a comprehensive EV charging infrastructure is vital to helping our communities achieve their net zero carbon goals and a key part of the ‘green economic recovery’ of the UK post-COVID-19. To make that happen, we need to safely and effectively manage the demand on the electricity network that increased EV charging will create. We believe that smart charging connections are a vital part of the solution – the results from this trial will improve our understanding of how they work in real world scenarios.”

Encouraging more people to drive electric vehicles is a key element of the UK meeting its climate change targets and achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Smart charging connections should help to accelerate this process by enabling more chargepoints to be installed in the same location, making them more attractive to businesses and investors, and thus boosting the country’s EV charging capacity.

Dr Graham Ault, Executive Director at Smarter Grid Solutions, said: “If the UK is to genuinely embrace a greener future, there needs to be a dramatic increase in the number of EV chargepoints available to drivers. Companies and site owners may have been put off in the past from installing chargepoints due to excessive costs or distribution network issues, but smart charging connection technology can help to solve these problems. This is a vital part of the Charge Project’s commitment to deliver both economic and environmental benefits to communities across the country.”

A smart charging connection can automatically detect if the CPO needs to reduce chargepoint capacity during periods of peak demand, ensuring the electricity network is never overloaded. It can also increase chargepoint capacity during off-peak periods or when power from alternative sources such as solar PV is available. By intelligently managing demand in this way, a smart charging connection can enable the installation of more chargepoints in a single location without the need for expensive network reinforcements. The flexibility of smart charging connections also means that owners can potentially offer consumers faster or cheaper charging outside periods of peak demand

The next milestone for the Charge Project will be the rollout of the ConnectMore tool, a public-facing web application that will help businesses and local authorities identify suitable sites for new chargepoints and estimate the cost of connecting them to the network.

If you or your business is currently considering the installation of chargepoints and would be interested in taking part, you can register your interest here: https://www.spenergynetworks.co.uk/pages/charge_expression_of_interest_form.aspx


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