UK Power Networks – a distribution network operator for electricity covering South East England, the East of England, and the city of London – conducted a trial, called The Active Response project, demonstrating that more than 500 electric vehicles’ chargers could be connected around a single electricity substation.
The company forecasts up to 4.5 million electric vehicles in the region it serves by the year 2030. Its research has shown that just one rapid EV charger can use as much electricity capacity as an apartment building. This has led to the need to proactively create space for new chargers – whether by new construction or the ability to use existing substations. Upgrading an electricity substation, or adding entirely new substations and cabling when customers need more power, would cost time and money.
The Active Response project used a computer simulation to test active response software on a London substation. It was able to automatically reconfigure power flows around the network and efficiently distributed electrical load across the available infrastructure. UK Power Networks believes that the software solution could release capacity for 568 additional EV chargers in one district of South London alone. There are almost 1500 primary substations across the region served, so the software has the potential to enable thousands more fast chargers to be connected in other areas. The project team is now preparing to trial the system on the live electricity network.
“To reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, we need to facilitate millions of electric vehicles and heat pumps and work even faster to connect more renewables,” said Ian Cameron, head of customer service and innovation at UK Power Networks. “These results are exciting because they show that intelligent innovation can have a multiplier effect and make this future a reality.”