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SPEN unveils new EV modelling tool for demand planning

Image: BP Chargemaster.

Image: BP Chargemaster.

SP Energy Networks is to launch a new tool aimed at shining a light on electric vehicle adoption in the UK, and how the country’s networks can prepare themselves for the surge in demand.

The distribution network operator (DNO) has partnered with Field Dynamics, an analytics consultancy, to develop ‘EV Up’, a new tool which will allow the firm to better understand where demand for EVs is likely to stem from.

This information will then be used to plan infrastructure investments more effectively, an area which SPEN said networks were currently struggling with.

Detailed demographics will be analysed against various behavioural indicators, while real-world experiences of EV ownership will also be fed into the tool. This will be used to assess the demand impact on the distribution grid from a number of different scenarios, depending on EV types, battery sizes, charging profiles and ownership thresholds.

Scott Mathieson, network planning and regulation director at SPEN, described the tool as the “perfect answer” to helping the network operator forecast and plan the low voltage network more accurately.

EV Up will initially be used to model areas including central and southern Scotland, Merseyside and Cheshire before being rolled out UK-wide.

Findings from the project will also be shared across the wider DNO space as part of the Network Innovation Allowance programme.

Charlie Gilbert, business solutions director at Field Dynamics, said: “The electric vehicle marketplace is changing rapidly and it can be very difficult to predict what will happen. Our tool makes that much easier. Scenario planning is a sensible way to reduce unpredictability and we are very excited to be working with the team at SP Energy Networks to develop the model further.”

More advanced modelling has risen in prominence for DNOs as the need for extra visibility and enhanced planning has risen in tandem with the amount of distributed energy resources on the country’s networks.

In March, Western Power Distribution revealed that a study it conducted with the help of ElectraLink and IBM found around 15,000 electric vehicles and other distributed energy sources that were previously unknown to the DNO.

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