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Shift project makes positive change for customers

The UK’s biggest electricity distributor is opening the way for local residents to join the energy ‘flexibility’ market to help cut the costs of running their electric vehicles (EVs). New ways of smart charging have been successfully tested by UK Power Networks to deliver greener energy at a lower cost

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BDC 318 : Jul 2024

electric vehicles

Shift project makes positive change for customers

The UK’s biggest electricity distributor is opening the way for local residents to join the energy ‘flexibility’ market to help cut the costs of running their electric vehicles (EVs). New ways of smart charging have been successfully tested by UK Power Networks to deliver greener energy at a lower cost for customers who charge their EVs at certain periods. With energy prices rising, smart charging enables customers to use electricity not only when it is greenest, but cheapest too. Project Shift, led by UK Power Networks in partnership with Kaluza, Octopus Energy and ev.energy, developed and trialled three different ways to incentivise EV charging outside of peak times, more attractive to EV owners. The world’s largest trial of smart charging incentives has shown that only 19% of the time customers spend plugged in at home, is needed to meet their charging needs. This makes ‘smart charging’ a possibility for people who can shift their charge times to when demand on the electricity network is lower, using cheaper, greener electricity to charge their car ready for the next day. Findings included that 85% of customers were open to smart charging, so long as their mobility requirements were met. EV demand during the evening peak was reduced by an average of 79% due to Smart charging with ongoing financial incentives. The median daily reduction in EV demand between 6-9 pm was 82%. Customers are now charging their car cheaper at certain times on a routine basis and earning rewards for charging, while avoiding the need for local electricity grids to be reinforced. As the distributor of electricity to 8.4 million homes and businesses across London, the South East and East of England, UK Power Networks is a key enabler of the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy and forging a path to Net Zero. Smart EV charging is critical to enabling the lowest cost electrification of transport, especially important as consumers are facing increased cost of living. As more people opt for a low carbon way of life, demand on the electricity grid rises with customers wanting the choice of how and when they charge. Project Shift means people can easily access the benefits of the fast-emerging flexibility market while supporting the increased adoption of EVs. Ian Cameron, head of customer service and innovation at UK Power Networks, said: “It is great that customers can receive incentives for charging their electric vehicles outside of peak times at home. “Smart charging will ultimately save everyone money and offers new opportunities for domestic households and businesses to contribute to a smarter UK energy system. It is key to helping us deliver Net Zero at the best cost for both customers and the network.” William Goldsmith, head of grid & data services at ev.energy, said: “It’s been fantastic working with UK Power Networks on such world leading innovation and I am delighted that the learnings from Project Shift have already been integrated into UK Power Networks’ first-of-a-kind flexibility tenders. “Charging electric vehicles smartly to unlock grid services is a critical part of delivering a green, affordable energy future. This can only be done by engaging and incentivising EV drivers to take part.”

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SKANSKA UK COMPLETES LARGE-SCALE ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING INSTALLATION AT HERTFORDSHIRE HQ

Pod Point has completed the installation of 67 electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints for Skanska UK, one of the country’s leading contractors, at its Hertfordshire head office. The installation is believed to be one of the largest to date in Europe. The company, which employs 6,000 people in the UK, worked with EV charging specialist Pod Point to install the 7kW chargepoints, along with the infrastructure for the solution to be scaled up to 243 chargepoints in the future. The chargepoints enable Skanska employees to charge their vehicles while they work, before returning to a fully powered battery at the end of the day.  The installation is part of Skanska’s commitment to decarbonise its company fleet as fast as technology allows, and to have the lowest emissions fleet in the industry. The solution enables Skanska to control access to EV charging centrally, monitor usage and set custom electricity tariffs.  Pod Point was selected following a competitive procurement process and the installation was completed within two weeks. Skanska’s Senior Project Manager Paul Jarvis said:  “The installation of the EV chargepoints was a credit to all concerned. All site work was done efficiently, on time and to budget with minimal impact on a busy, occupied site.” Pod Point CEO Erik Fairbairn said: “This is the largest single site chargepoint installation that we’re aware of in the UK, but also a sign of a larger shift over the past six months, as more businesses wake up to the benefits of EVs. We’ve certainly seen a big increase in enquiries from companies wanting futureproof chargepoint installations that can be scaled up as their fleets make the switch to electric.” Along with zero carbon emissions, electric vehicles have lower maintenance costs than their petrol or diesel equivalents due to a smaller number of moving parts. There are also tax advantages, with no benefit in kind rates for charging company cars, while the BIK rate for purchases of new EVs will fall to 2 per cent in 2020/2021 compared to up to 20 per cent for petrol or diesel vehicles.

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