With the SMMT warning that slow grid connections risk holding up the transition to electric vehicles (EV), Vincent Thornley, managing director at British engineering company Fundamentals Ltd, says investment and careful coordination in underlying energy infrastructure needs to shift up a gear.
“Affordable charging infrastructure needs to be widespread,” he said. ”However, distribution networks are already operating with loads that they were not originally designed for.
“The key challenge facing the electricity industry is how to adapt a transmission and distribution grid designed in a bygone era, for a future with very different demands upon it – and do so without the crippling expense of reinforcing or replacing large parts of it.
”As EVs introduce new patterns of energy generation and consumption, there needs to be a flexible and dynamic energy grid that has the capacity to reliably balance supply and demand at an affordable cost.
“Tools, like voltage control, can be used in a smarter way to balance loads on the grid more effectively and free up capacity to speed up new connections. With such tools we can take the infrastructure that we already have and allow it to deliver the electricity needed for widespread EV adoption.”
Fundamentals describes itself as a company committed to the development of technology to help improve the health and performance of the electricity grid. Using intellect and expertise in the area of voltage control, artificial intelligence and power system communications, the company is addressing some of the challenges for grid operators presented by the energy transition. Established in Oxford more than 30 years ago, Fundamentals now has operations in Swindon, Oldham (Ferranti Tapchangers) and Perth (Australia).