Electric vehicle trial proposed in Ireland

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ESB Networks, Ireland’s distribution network operator, has proposed a trial of electric vehicles (EVs) be undertaken to assess their impact on the distribution and meter management systems.

Currently there are believed to be around 600 EVs on Ireland’s roads, with initial research indicating that the majority of charging takes place in owners’ homes at night time. However, under Ireland’s obligations under the EU Renewable Energy Directive, the country has targeted to have 10% of its passenger cars and light commercial fleets (approximately 230,000 vehicles) electrically powered by 2020 – raising concerns over their impact and the challenges of their introduction.

ESB Networks’ pilot is aimed to support learning about EV technology and the expected interaction with the distribution system in terms of safety, connection standards, mobile lead measurement, controllability and ICT and user behavior.

In the €25 million 3-year trial, it is proposed to rollout a charging infrastructure with up to 1,500 AC charge points, 29 DC fast charge points and up to 2,000 home chargers, and to trial the EVs across both a wide spectrum of potential users as well as across a range of rural and urban network topographies. Aspects that will be investigated include solutions to increase the distribution network capability of hosting EVs and the use of EVs for demand side management.

In a consultation document – under consultation to November 25 – the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) has indicated its support for the pilot, stating that given the potentially huge importance of EVs for the Irish electricity system, there is a case for increasing the R&D budget to fund an efficient pilot project.

A final decision following the consultation is anticipated before year end.