Smart charging is solution to national fleet of BPV cars, says Flexitricity founder

Scottish Energy News, 25 Sept, 2017
Scottish Energy News, 25 Sept, 2017

LETTER TO EDITOR

Sir,

Re: Scottish Power chief calls for another 2,000-MW of onshore wind-turbines to re-charge national fleet of battery-powered vehicles

While I agree that it’s highly likely that consumers’ shift towards electrical vehicles will happen much more quickly than the Government expects, I do not believe this transition will require the investment in rewiring and infrastructure Scottish Power anticipates.

Instead, what we need to do is ensure smart charging becomes the norm from now on. Consumers need access to dynamic prices at their charge points, and the cars, or the charge points, need to know how to respond to those prices. 

This will allow the cars to charge themselves when electricity is cheapest – and that’s when it’s most plentiful. Add in local energy markets, and we’ll be able to charge the nations cars at the lowest possible cost using the wires we already have.

“The humble household kettle provides a useful lesson. Even if nothing else was switched on, the nation’s kettles alone could break Britain’s electricity system. Yet the system doesn’t break; it’s actually becoming more secure.

“The diversity of human behaviour is already a big part of keeping the lights on. But it takes longer to charge an electric car than to boil a kettle, so diversity isn’t enough on its own.  We need to ensure that people only charge their cars at peak times if they really have to – and that’s what smart charging is for.

“I also agree that offshore wind has proven it can compete – the £57.50/MWh strike price for Moray Offshore Windfarm is another great example. It is so low that most of its value is in the stability of the price rather than the actual price itself.

“So if offshore wind can achieve that, then onshore wind and all other forms of traditional renewable energy generation should also be allowed to show what they are capable of. In fact, they can probably achieve even lower prices than offshore wind.

 The UK Government made a big mistake by throwing the renewables industry into reverse in Amber Rudd’s “reset speech”, and Scottish Power is right to call for them to look again at that. It is time to reset the reset.

Dr. Alastair Martin

Founder, Flexitricity

Edinburgh EH2

26 Sept 2017

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