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Smart charging trial participants sought as SPEN looks for solutions to manage EV demand

Image: SPEN

Image: SPEN

Smart charging is to take centre stage of a new phase of SP Energy Networks’ (SPEN) Charge Project as it seeks participants.

The Charge Project – which includes Smarter Grid Solutions, PTV Group and EA Technology as partners and has been running since 2019 – is aiming to accelerate the rollout of public electric vehicle (EV) charging across Cheshire, Merseyside, North Shropshire and North and Mid-Wales.

Regional businesses, developers and chargepoint operators currently considering the installation of chargepoints are all being encouraged to register interest in the new trial under the Charge Project banner, with SPEN to work with these participants to trial smart charging connections.

The distribution network operator (DNO) lauded the positive effects of smart charging, in particular the ability to prevent the electricity network from becoming overloaded and ability to increase chargepoint capacity during off-peak periods or when power from low carbon sources such as solar PV is available.

Geoff Murphy, lead for the Charge Project at SP Energy Networks, said that creating a comprehensive EV charging infrastructure is “vital” to achieving net zero and a green economic recovery, but to enable this “we need to safely and effectively manage the demand on the electricity network that increased EV charging will create”.

“We believe that smart charging connections are a vital part of the solution – the results from this trial will improve our understanding of how they work in real world scenarios.”

Following this, the next milestone for the Charge Project is to be the rollout of a public facing web application, dubbed the ConnectMore tool, which is set to help businesses and local authorities identify suitable sites for new chargepoints and estimate the cost of connecting them to the network.

SPEN is also running Project PACE, which is to see around 180 EV chargers installed around North and South Lanarkshire at more than 40 charging hubs, increasing the number of public chargers in the areas by over 200%.

The first of these charging hubs went live in August, with the remainder to be delivered by April 2021.

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