AFTER trials in North and Mid Wales a new “energy map” to quickly identify the best places to install public chargepoints for electric vehicles (EVs) has been developed as part of an innovative project led by SP Energy Networks.
The project also investigated how increased charging demand can be effectively accommodated by the local electricity network.
The Charge Project – funded by the energy regulator, Ofgem – ran in the company’s Manweb region (Mid Cheshire, Merseyside, Wirral, North Shropshire, North and Mid-Wales) between January 2019-December 2022.
Working in partnership with PTV Group, Smarter Grid Solutions and EA Technology, it combined transport and electricity network planning data to better understand where EV charging demand will occur from 2025 to 2050 and considered how this data could be used to speed up the roll-out of public chargepoints – making EVs a more realistic option for more people.
One of the main outputs from the project is a first-of-its-kind, self-service online connections planning tool called ConnectMore that empowers customers – such as local authorities, property developers, site owners and chargepoint operators – to quickly identify the best locations for chargepoint installation.
ConnectMore consists of an interactive map and cost calculator for current and future transport patterns alongside electricity network capacity, pinpointing the best locations for EV chargepoints and issuing an immediate quote for connection.
The Charge Project also identified how Smart Charging Connections can be used by distribution network operators (DNOs) such as SP Energy Networks to manage energy consumption from public chargepoints in real-time and keep electricity demand within the capacity limits of the existing network.
The Charge Project developed new methodologies to enable chargepoints to be connected quicker and without the need for expensive grid upgrades, maximising the use of existing network assets.
Liam O’Sullivan, SP Energy Networks’ Licence Director for the Manweb region, said, “One of the biggest barriers to making the switch to electric vehicles is the availability of public chargepoints – especially for those drivers who don’t have the ability to install their own chargers at home.
“The Charge Project has tackled this issue head-on, with innovative solutions that provide the data and insight to create a public charging infrastructure that will support all EV drivers – both now and in the future.
“This was a real team effort, and my thanks go to all the partners involved. What we have developed will not only boost our ambitions to support communities to become net zero, but will also make a real difference to the entire electricity industry, helping to create a cleaner, greener and better future for us all – quicker.”