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The objective of this project is to equip GB Distribution Network Operators with the tools and solutions to enable them to manage PIV market growth by:
Assessing their (non-meshed) LV networks to predict which parts of their LV network will be susceptible to PIV penetration;
Determining whether PIV/V2G demand control services can be used to avoid or defer reinforcement;
Monitor LV networks to detect PIV charger installation growth; and
Procure and deploy PIV/V2G demand control solutions as soon PIV induced LV network stresses arise.
As groups of neighbours acquire Plug-in Vehicles (PIVs), localised clustering of demand is likely to cause challenges for electricity networks, as proven through the (Low Carbon Networks Fund) My Electric Avenue (MEA) project. MEA showed that approximately 30% of GB low voltage networks will need reinforcement by 2050, if adoption of electrification of transport is widespread (i.e. meeting DECC’s High EV Market Growth Forecast). This represents a present day cost of £2.2bn to UK customers – Transform Model® analysis, based on UK Government forecasts of nearly 40 million PIVs on UK roads by that time. The UK Government is committed to the electrification of transport – as illustrated by its recent investment into ultra-low carbon vehicles such as its extension of grants for PIV chargers, PIV car subsidies and the Go Ultra Low Cities Scheme.
In addition, vehicle to grid (V2G) services and associated technologies are being developed in the UK and abroad. The impact of mass V2G services on LV networks needs to be understood, especially as some V2G services (such as transmission frequency services) may adversely affect distribution network operations, in a similar way to solar PV generation. V2G could be a solution as much as a problem for LV network congestion, in that export mode could be used to address peak PIV demands - but as V2G has not been developed sufficiently at this time this is a poorly understood option. Furthermore, adapting the PIV demand control services to utilise V2G export mode to address PIV induced peak loads has not been proven. This tool and the conflict between PIV demand control to meet DNO DSR needs and other services V2G can provide has not been investigated.
This project will use three methods to enable DNOs to identify which parts of their network are likely to be affected by PIV/V2G uptake, and whether PIV demand control services are a cost effective solution to avoiding or deferring reinforcement on vulnerable parts of their networks.
Method 1: Modelling
This project will provide DNOs with an assessment tool to predict where PIV/V2G market penetration may cause network challenges.
This tool will, firstly, enable assessment of all (non-meshed) LV networks in a DNO’s license areas to identify those most likely to be affected by PIV penetration. Secondly, the tool will enable more detailed assessment of those LV networks identified as being susceptible to PIV penetration to identify the level of PIV penetration that would present a problem and trigger reinforcement and enable assessment of PIV demand control and V2G as solutions to avoid or defer reinforcement.
Method 2: Monitoring
This project will develop an algorithm deployable on an existing substation monitoring facility that will enable the effect of PIVs on a LV network to be retrospectively analysed and allow the measureable impact to be compared against the modelling tool output.
Method 3: Mitigation
This project will adapt existing smart charger technology, including V2G chargers as they become ready to deploy and existing commercial charger management services and deploy these in a mass-market customer trial to prove the technical/economic viability of PIV/V2G demand control to avoid or defer network reinforcement and to prove that such systems are acceptable to customers. The customer trial will include a wide range of PIVs, with a range of battery sizes and charging rates to prove such systems can be deployed in a future with a diverse PIV market.
A network assessment tool will be developed that will allow (i) license-wide assessment of PIV penetration susceptibility of (non-meshed) LV networks and (ii) more detailed assessment of LV networks susceptible to PIV penetration to determine the level of PIV penetration that would trigger reinforcement action and the smart solutions to avoid or defer reinforcement developed in this project.
A monitoring algorithm will be developed that will detect PIV charging by directly monitoring the LV substation such that the number and potentially type/category of vehicles can be identified, the impact on the feeder cables and transformers understood and to produce guidelines for managing EV charging. The collected data from pre-established PIV clusters on the WPD network will be fed back to refine the Network Assessment Tool.
The Trial Programme
A smart charger test system will be established to (i) enable selection of suitable smart chargers for the customer trial and (ii) develop and test the PIV/V2G demand control services before and during the customer trial.
Up to 700 new PIV drivers will be recruited, in order to provide the project with statistically significant data ensuring diversity in driver behaviour and PIVs (battery size and nominal charger rate). Trial participants (customers) will be sought from a wide area across WPD’s licence areas, concentrating, but not exclusively, on larger conurbations and in particular the recently announced winners of OLEV’s Go Ultra Low City Scheme in WPD’s licence areas, namely Milton Keynes, Bristol and Nottingham & Derby.
Trial participants will provide their own car for use in the trials. The project will provide trial participants with “smart” chargers for their home on their agreement to participate in the trial, to be subjected to PIV demand control and to have data collected regarding their PIV usage and charging.
This data will be used to inform development of the PIV/V2G demand control services and research into customer behaviours relating to their journey planning and charging behaviours. The customer trials will apply PV/V2G demand control on simulated PIV induced network stress scenarios. Customer acceptance of PIV/V2G demand control will be assessed by a contracted market research company.
The success criteria of the project is defined through successful delivery of the following:
An LV Network Assessment Tool for DNOs (an add-on to the widely used WinDEBUT LV design tool) that:
Analyses and quantifies PIV related stress issues on LV networks (to LV area scale), including:
Heuristics enabling rapid assessment of PIVs on LV networks through “topological” modelling of LV networks
Ability to include known PIV charger installations
Ability to forecast future PIV charger installations based on PIV market growth and forecasts
Flexibility allowing for future charger rating and PIV battery size developments
Identifies best economic PIV solution: Demand Control/V2G/Reinforcement.
A functional specification for a technique to monitor and understand the effects of electric vehicle charging on LV networks across different levels of penetration.
A functional specification and commercial framework for future procurement and deployment of PIV/V2G Demand/Export Control Services by DNOs to delay or avoid network reinforcement in cases where PIV installation numbers create network stress.
These will be available on the market for other DNOs to use and to adopt into business as usual.
Expected learning includes:
Expansion of current understanding of the demand impact of charging at home on electricity distribution networks of a diverse range of plug-in-electric-vehicles (PIVs) – extending charge rates to 7kW+, introducing vehicle to grid technology and a range of battery sizes from 20kWh to 80kWh+.
A better understanding of how vehicle usage affects charging behaviour given diversity of charge rate and battery size.
Evaluation of the reliability and acceptability to customers of PIV/V2G demand/export control services and influence these have on driving and charging behaviour.
Evaluation of the technical/economic viability of smart charger and PIV/V2G demand control services to avoid/defer LV network reinforcement in the event of PIV induced network stress.
Development of a LV network assessment methodology that could be applied to other new energy technologies that may become widely deployed.