Andrew Percy, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, has visited EA Technology headquarters in Chester. The visit included a demonstration of the company’s Electric Nation project, funded by Western Power Distribution (WPD) and its Network Innovation Allowance.
Electric Nation, the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) trial of its kind, is testing a smart charging system in order to avoid excessive strain on local electricity networks when clusters of EVs charge at peak times.
The minister took particular interest in the Electric Nation model. The model demonstrates the electric vehicle demand control that will be tested with 500 – 700 trial participants in this exciting new project. It also shows the way in which vehicle-to-grid services could operate to balance the network and so avoid the need for potentially costly reinforcement.
Nick Storer, principal consultant at EA Technology and Electric Nation project manager, explained further: “The minister correctly identified that customer preference regarding charging would be an important factor in customers accepting demand control. We discussed aspects of the Electric Nation trial that will investigate methods for prioritising customers who have a need for immediate charge, for a planned journey for example, over those who have less urgent need for charge, who might not need their car until the next day.”
EA Technology is delivering the Electric Nation project, hosted by Western Power Distribution (WPD), in collaboration with partners including DriveElectric, Lucy Electric GridKey and TRL.
The project aims to build an understanding of the potential impact that the increasing uptake of EVs will have on local electricity networks. The ultimate objective is to recruit 500-700 people buying or leasing an electric vehicle to take part in the project.
The minister’s visit also included a tour of the experience rooms built to mark the EA Technology’s 50th anniversary earlier this year and demonstrations of the company’s products for improved management and maintenance of electricity networks.
The tour was followed by a roundtable discussion co-ordinated by the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership.
Robert Davis, Group CEO, EA Technology said: “We were delighted to welcome the minister to our headquarters, to showcase some of our innovative technologies and to describe the growth opportunities we are anticipating in the coming months and years. The energy sector is an exciting area for technological innovators right now. Many of our customers are facing demands to reduce energy costs, increase the reliability of supply and reduce carbon emissions. These are areas where our technologies and highly skilled staff can make strong contributions. We are looking forward to a bright and successful future.
“Since 1966, when it was established as the research centre for the UK electricity distribution sector, our company has evolved into a globally recognised technology developer for the electricity industry. A strategy of sustained innovation and investment has enabled us to create market-leading products and services and to expand our network of international offices so that we now serve customers in 90 countries around the world.”
Find out more about Electric Nation at www.electricnation.org.uk