UK plans ‘world’s largest’ network of energy storage and vehicle rapid charging


For the longest time, when we talked about electrification of transport, naysayers would warn that it could destabilize the grid. Recently, however, the company responsible for running the UK’s electricity grid stated that it saw no barrier to electrification—in fact, it said, the government could bring its proposed 2040 petrol/diesel car ban forward ten years and it could still meet the challenge.

UK-based Pivot Power would appear to agree, as they’ve just unveiled plans for an ambitious network of grid-connected energy storage and electric vehicle charging which could simultaneously balance supply and demand on the grid, and also provide electric vehicle rapid charging to hundreds of vehicles at once—without causing the kinds of surges in demand that naysayers were once so worried about.

Specifically, once built, the proposed battery network would be the world’s largest of its kinds—consisting of 45 sites (already identified) with 50MW of stationary battery storage at each location. Each spot would be co-located with electricity sub-stations in order to maximize grid-stabilization services, but also happen to be near major towns, cities or roads—potentially supporting up to 100 rapid 150KW chargers, and even 350KW chargers once cars are around that can charge that fast.

Pivot Power is pretty explicit about their intention—and that’s to “accelerate the decline of petrol and diesel”. I must say, if nothing else, it’s refreshing to hear clean technology advocates talking in such ambitious, absolute terms. Because there’s no doubt that this is what needs to happen in order to achieve a low carbon transition.

And for those folks who fear a shift from petrol/diesel car dependency to electric car dependency, it’s an encouraging sign that the Pivot Power network isn’t just focused on private car ownership. Alongside public charging, the network is also looking at providing services for “electric bus depots and bases for large transport fleets.”

The first ten sites should be developed in the next 18 months. They can’t come soon enough as far as I am concerned.

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