Innovation Project pioneers clean energy solutions


A CLEAN energy technology firm has entered into an innovation project partnership with SP Energy Networks to help accelerate the roll out of electric vehicles.

The “Charge” Network Innovation Competition project comes ahead of the UK Government’s plans to phase out conventional petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.

Glasgow-based company, Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS) will work alongside lead partner, SP Energy Networks, software provider PTV Group, and technology firm EA Technology in the £8.5 million project to find the best way to charge electric vehicles at public venues, service stations and at homes without driveways.

Graham Ault, founder and Executive Director at Smarter Grid Solutions, said: “Electric vehicles will revolutionise not just vehicle transport but Great Britain’s electricity grid.

“Project Charge is a significant step forward in making sure that the electricity networks will cope with the extra demand.”

SGS will develop solutions as to how to charge electric vehicles at homes without driveways and how to charge vehicles at public locations.

The company will investigate several smart charging solutions including staggered charging on a street-by-street basis, timed charging schedules and controlling charging rate based on network measurements which will enable easier and cheaper connection of high numbers of electric vehicle chargers to the electricity networks.

Other prospective solutions include tying the chargers to electricity storage batteries within homes, and linking them to flexible and low carbon technologies such as solar panels, wind turbines or utility-scale batteries connected to the wider grid.

The project will test technology and procedures in Liverpool, North Wales and parts of Cheshire and Shropshire that could then be rolled out across Great Britain.

Project lead, Laura Kane, said: “Winning this contract under Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition is a significant achievement for SGS because it recognises how useful our software will be in tackling the challenges that lie ahead for the grid from the revolution in electric transportation.

“The days of petrol and diesel vehicles as the norm are coming to an end and this project will help to make sure network operators effectively identify where there is available capacity on the network for developers to create EV charge hubs.”

Scott Mathieson, Director of Network Planning & Regulation at SP Energy Networks, added: “Working with innovative companies like SGS is essential if we’re going to respond to the challenges of connecting electric vehicles to the grid.

“Charge is an exciting project that will test many potential solutions and once we know which combination of technology and commercial solutions and procedures works best, then SP Energy Networks will be able to help other network operators to roll them out across the whole country.”