A British distribution network operator is embarking on a project to help the grid handle electric vehicles while avoiding £271 million (USD $378 million) in upgrades.
UK Power Networks believes its “active response” trial, which kicked off this month, could hold the key to creating “a responsive, automated electricity network that reconfigures itself constantly, moving spare capacity to where the demand is,” according to the operator.
By 2030, the network could help UK Power Networks offer services to up to 1.9 million electric vehicles across London and the east and southeast of England.
EV registrations are already 15 percent above forecasts in the company’s service territory, according to an electricity network innovation competition submission last year.
EV uptake is expected to accelerate further amid U.K. plans to ban sales of internal combustion engine vehicles from 2040. By 2030, National Grid predicts electric vehicles could add 3.5 gigawatts to peak demand across the U.K., the submission said.
“This will require significant reinforcement with costs largely borne by customers,” stated the company. “We anticipate a tipping point, where electric vehicles will become the normal choice for most consumers; electricity networks must be ready when this occurs.”