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Invitation to electric vehicle owners

London’s electric vehicle community is being invited to join the Low Carbon London trials.
From press releases - 13 April 2012 09:00 AM

London’s electric vehicle community is being invited to join the Low Carbon London trials.

Owners of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles across London are being encouraged to sign up for the trials which will determine the impact a large-scale adoption of electric vehicles would have on UK Power Networks’ London electricity network - and also across Great Britain.

Christina Ting, from Hampstead Garden Suburb, is the first customer to join the trials. Low Carbon London will monitor when her Nissan Leaf is being charged to understand what would happen to the electricity network if the whole neighbourhood charged their vehicles in a similar pattern.

Ms Ting said: “Before joining the trial it hadn’t crossed my mind what impact the widespread use of electric vehicles might have on the electricity network. I thought it wasn’t an issue, as electricity is used for so many other things. However electric vehicles are the future and the more we can plan for them the better. There will come a time when people will look at electric vehicles as normal.”

UK Power Networks is preparing for a future where electric vehicles are the norm. Under the Government’s Carbon Plan, there is a commitment to source 10 per cent of UK transport energy from sustainable renewable sources by 2020, potentially driving growth in the use of electricity far in excess of natural growth in demand as electric vehicles are adopted.

If electricity networks do not adapt to the electrification of transport, industry estimates suggest a take-up of 25 per cent of electric vehicles by 2030 could lead to half of the electricity transformers closest to the customer’s home or business needing to be upgraded. However, through ‘smart’ controls of electric vehicle charging points, Low Carbon London will be exploring how to make best use of existing local network capacity, reducing the need for network reinforcement and making electric car charging infrastructure cheaper to install. Led by UK Power Networks, Low Carbon London is a project which was awarded funding from energy regulator Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund.

Liam O’Sullivan, programme director of Low Carbon London at UK Power Networks, said: “We support the electrification of transport to improve air quality, reduce carbon emissions and noise. We also recognise that electric vehicle charging could significantly increase demand on the electricity network and Low Carbon London will help us to identify the best ways to manage this.

“Most electric vehicles are stationary for the majority of the time, which means drivers can be flexible about when they charge their vehicles so there is scope for people to charge vehicles during ‘off peak’ periods, minimising impact on the network. This flexibility also offers an opportunity to better match increasing demand with variable low carbon generation.

“Electric vehicle owners have already taken a big step in supporting a low carbon transport future. Now, we ask them to build upon that commitment by helping us develop an electricity network that can support London’s electric vehicle and carbon reduction targets in the future.”

At no cost to the participants, volunteers joining the trial will have a simple energy monitor attached to the charge point or power outlet they use to charge their vehicle. The monitor will automatically send readings to the Low Carbon London team. Experts at Imperial College London will help analyse the data collected, to help the partners to understand how and when people use electricity to charge their vehicles.

The trials also plan to test tariffs which will help to avoid excessive ‘peak demands’ on the electricity network. The aim is to help build a reliable, sustainable, low carbon electricity network that plans for and supports the growing number of electric vehicles in London. Through smart controls of electric vehicle charging points Low Carbon London will seek to minimise the impact of everyone recharging their vehicles at the same time, such as on arrival at work, avoiding large increases in demand on the network and the whole electricity supply chain.

As the local distribution network operator, UK Power Networks is working on the electric vehicle trials with a range of private and commercial electric vehicle owners.

Approximately 100 participants are needed for the trials. For more information, or to take part in the trial, ring 0800 859 5378, write to the team atlowcarbonlondon@ukpowernetworks.co.uk or visit the website www.lowcarbonlondon.info.

Ends

Picture caption: Electric car charging trials hit the road – UK Power Networks’ Ben Wilson, director of strategy and regulation, with Christina Ting whose home charging of her Nissan Leaf will be monitored during the trial.

For further information please contact Niamh Arnett in the UK Power Networks press office on 0845 302 7292.

Notes to Editors

UK Power Networks 
UK Power Networks distributes power to a quarter of Britain’s population through its electricity networks serving London, the South East and the East of England. The company's 5,000 employees are dedicated to delivering a safe, secure electricity supply to about eight million homes and businesses via its networks of substations, overhead lines and underground cables. 
UK Power Networks will be distributing the electricity at many venues for this year’s international sporting events. This year we are investing £360million in our electricity networks and around £1.8billion in the five years to 2015. We are also undertaking trials to ensure our electricity networks support the transition to a low carbon future.
Customers pay their bills to supply companies but UK Power Networks delivers the power across our three areas. The industry regulator Ofgem sets an allowed revenue to distribution companies so that they can maintain safe and reliable electricity supplies. If customers are unfortunate enough to be affected by a power cut or have another issue with the electricity supply to their property, they should contact UK Power Networks.www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk

Led by UK Power Networks, Low Carbon London is a £30million pioneering learning programme funded by customers through Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund and the electricity network operator. Its aim is to use London as a test bed to develop a smarter electricity network that can manage the demands of a low carbon economy and deliver reliable, sustainable low carbon electricity to businesses, residents and communities. The programme will explore how to combine new technology and commercial innovation – such as localised generation, electric vehicles, heat pumps, smart meters, time of use tariffs and responsive demand services – to support a low carbon energy economy. UK Power Networks’ partners on the Low Carbon London programme are Siemens, Logica, EDF Energy, Greater London Authority, Transport for London, National Grid, Institute for Sustainability, Flexitricity, EnerNOC, Smarter Grid Solutions and Imperial College London. More information on Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund is available here:http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Networks/ElecDist/lcnf/Pages/lcnf.aspx