Powersystems guide to grid connection for Bus and Fleet Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure

Securing grid capacity for your electric vehicle, bus, van or fleet project is of paramount importance, even before proceeding with vehicle procurement.

Historically most bus garage sites are generally connected to the distribution system at LV (Low Voltage 415 v three phase), it is unusual to find a site with in excess of a 250 kva supply capacity, as generally these sites load characteristics would only cater for lighting, workshop power, MOT test bays and vehicle washes etc. The transformation from diesel buses to all electric can be a complicated process for a garage infrastructure and failure to secure grid capacity can lead operators to the exposure of potentially high and in cases up to six figure connection costs.

Traditionally an electricity board would have provided connection services to a customers premises, however in the mid-90s under OFGEM regulations, the connection monopolies were removed and with the transition to Regional Electricity Companies and now Distribution Network Operators, the regulator encouraged the competition in connection regulations and now managed under an Accredited Contractors Scheme by Lloyds Register.

This brought Independent Connection Provides (ICPs) who could now once accredited, design, manage, install, test and commission new supply grid connection assets under this scheme (Powersystems UK Ltd were the first contractor in the UK to attain this status), which at last brought competition into the electricity connections market.

The advantages of engaging an ICP to manage all aspects of your connection will have commercial cost advantages, in that they will be to a degree risk adverse, work to agreed timescales and on a contracted basis (often accepting contract damages for failure to meet agreed deadlines) and to a fixed price. The Commercial benefit for a customer or operator is that agreed payment milestones would also be agreed, allowing clients to manage cap-ex and cash flow throughout all stages of the project.

As an ICP, Powersystems UK can guide a customer or operator through the grid application process, or indeed handle this on a client’s behalf. It is important that a customers site is subjected to a site capacity survey, a service Powersystems carry out as a free of charge service, advice on can the DNO network support additional capacity, upgrading of existing HV/LV installations if possible, advise on time frames to deliver the project, engagement with other external stakeholders such as Local Council Highways, Network Rail, Transport for London (TFL) all essential for grid route planning.

An ICP would be able to carry out all the normal functions a DNO will offer to include but not limited to:

Design, project management, cable laying, cable jointing, substation installation for equipment and networks from LV up to voltage levels of 132,000v. As well as all associated civil engineering works including excavation, cable laying and back filling.

An ICP will be able to engage on a customer’s behalf an IDNO (Independent Distribution Network Operator) to adopt the newly connected infrastructure, as opposed to paying for a new supply upgrade to a DNO where they retain and adopt the new connection at the customers expense. If an IDNO is engaged in lieu of the DNO they will still operate in exactly the same way, except the customer will be paid an asset adoption value which will offset their connection cost in the first instance.

For more information call our EV Infrastructure specialists on  01454 318 000

 

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