EVs in UK’s future power system: A net-zero strategy
April 5, 2022

This post contains an article published by a small cohort within PSC’s UK team including Dr. Mahmoud Elkazaz, Dr. Carlos Ferrandon-Cervantes, Raj Hirani, Jonathan Cervantes and Andrew Eviston. The group meets regularly to collaborate on topical issues of the day, shares the researching and writing effort across the team, and presents internally before publishing.

The UK’s future is electric

The energy sector’s ever-changing landscape drives the grid infrastructure to adapt. National Grid’s Future Energy Scenario (FES) 2020 report provides four future energy scenarios[1], all aiming to completely phase out internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Therefore, vehicles on the road will mostly be ultra-low emissions by 2050. Electric Vehicles (EVs) are gradually replacing fossil fuel vehicles and will quickly be adding to the electricity demand despite the 2020 FES reporting that the total energy demand for road transport will decrease across all scenarios. Regardless of the fall in overall energy demand, the shift to electric vehicles clearly results in an increase in electricity demand in all scenarios.

New demand sources offering demand-side response, such as EVs, present an attractive instrument to the grid balancing process. This possible market mechanism could prevent power cuts or increases in network frequency that could potentially damage electrical equipment.

The UK’s EVs funding strategy

To meet its net-zero strategy, the UK government plans to implement a new requirement mandating car manufacturers to sell an increasing proportion of emissions-free vehicles each year beginning in 2024. An additional £350 million has been pledged to assist with the electrification of UK cars and the supply networks that support them[2]. It is widely accepted that EVs are better for the environment than ICE vehicles while providing several advantages for the driver, including lower emissions and greater efficiency. It is estimated that the annual CO2 emissions from an EV are reduced by 1,500 kg[3].

EVs’ role in the future power system

The International Energy Association (IEA) projects that the global EV stock will increase from 11 million in 2020, to almost 145 million by 2030 on an annual growth rate of nearly 30%[4]. As PSC’s previous blog The road to V2G explains, V2G (vehicle-to-grid) is still waiting for further developments for bidirectional charge point operation and EV batteries have an enormous potential to support the grid if charging stations are carefully located. Charging stations in the order of some MWs can alleviate grid congestion or avoid curtailment during high shares of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) by controlling the rate of charge of the EVs. Furthermore, an aggregated demand response from EV charging stations could be used by the Distribution Network Operators to respond against generation imbalances in the grid during emergency operational scenarios.

EPIC innovation is underway

The effect of EVs and EV charging points on the electrical network has drawn the attention of most network planners across the globe. For example, in the UK, PSC has participated in the Energy Planning Integrated with Councils (EPIC) project to develop a tool that considers the impacts of load growth on the electricity networks and reflects the strategic ambitions of the local authority to enable better investment outcomes. The EPIC project has considered the impact on the network arising due to different charging strategies by varying the location, number, and power rating of public chargers to deliver the same amount of energy to EVs.

PSC can help

PSC’s global energy experts will help your organization deliver innovative solutions surrounding the EV industry, from EV charging station grid connections to flexible EV charging schemes participating in the electricity market. Please find out more about our capabilities in this area and contact us to talk about the first steps.

[1] https://www.nationalgrideso.com/future-energy/future-energy-scenarios/fes-2020-documents

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-funding-targeted-at-more-affordable-zero-emission-vehicles-as-market-charges-ahead-in-shift-towards-an-electric-future

[3] https://www.transportenvironment.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/TEs-EV-life-cycle-analysis-LCA.pdf

[4] https://www.iea.org/reports/global-ev-outlook-2021?mode=overview