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ElectraLink is delighted to be involved in Skyline, a new innovative partnership launched to support the cost-effective transition to electric vehicles (EVs). In a cross-industry first, data from the automotive industry, charge point operators and electricity networks is being shared and utilised to target investment and pave the way for the net zero transport revolution.

The UK is seeing a significant growth in electric vehicles resulting in a considerable increase in electricity demand. Recent research commissioned by Scottish and Southern Energy Networks (SSEN) showed there could be an increase of 11,000 percent in the number of EVs on UK roads by 2050. Data analysts at UK Power Networks (UKPN), which operates electricity networks in London, the South and East of England, forecast that the 99,000 EVs currently in its areas are due to rise to 3.6mn by 2030.

ElectraLink is project managing Skyline in partnership with electricity distribution network operators (DNOs) SSEN and UKPN, as well as the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) and digital EV solutions firm CrowdCharge, to launch the project. It will enable the DNOs to pinpoint when and where new electricity demand to charge EVs is coming from with unprecedented accuracy.

The group will work with third parties to share early visibility of new EV registrations and new charge point connections to help electricity networks plan for the projected increase in electric transport.

The Skyline project brings together car dealerships, automotive businesses, electricity network operators and charge point operators together for the first time. While charger installers routinely update the network operator when new charge points are installed, car dealerships and other types of automotive businesses were not previously involved in the data-sharing process.

As part of the project, ElectraLink will build a data-driven API connected to a new CrowdCharge-developed digital platform, allowing multiple data sources to feed in crucial data for early visibility of EV uptake. This will create an automatically updated database. The project will be developed in compliance with GDPR requirements.

ElectraLink is also supporting the design of incentive mechanisms to encourage EV charge point operators, EV installers, EV dealers and other EV product providers to give early notification of EV charger installation. We are also supporting the design of an early notification system for new housing developments – predicated on the fact they will need to have EV charging infrastructure installed under legislation.

With better data faster, network operators can make more informed decisions about how to install smart solutions and prepare the network efficiently to be ready for new demand and to save customers’ money over the long term.

Marc Bartlett, Head of DSO Transformation at ElectraLink, said: “ElectraLink is connecting data between the electric vehicle industry and the electricity network operators to help accelerate our transition towards sustainable energy and transport. Our role in Skyline will be to work with EV industry stakeholders to understand what data-driven incentive mechanisms could encourage early notification of EV charger installation, but also extends to encouraging the nationwide inclusion of EV infrastructure and requirements into various future planning opportunities. We are very excited to be involved in this project to support electricity network operators to plan the future of EV adoption in the UK.”

Richard Hartshorn, EV Readiness Manager for SSEN, said: “Project Skyline will allow us to be proactive through the EV transition, giving us timely insight into when and where new demand will emerge. It will identify areas with high EV uptake to ensure power supplies stay reliable and smooth the customers’ journey as they switch to cleaner transport. We hope this will actively support the uptake of EVs in our licence areas.

“We are delighted to be working with our fellow DNO, UK Power Networks on this project. With over 11m customers between us, this partnership gives us a large bank of stakeholders to engage, which will deliver the best possible learnings on their preferred approaches to data sharing.”

Ian Cameron, Head of Customer Services and Innovation at UK Power Networks, said: “We’re forecasting a 36-fold increase in EVs over the next ten years. It’s critical that we do everything we can to facilitate that growth to pave the way for a Net Zero carbon emissions future.

“We’re delighted to be working collaboratively on this project with our fellow network operator and the wider transport sector to join up our combined expertise and make that revolution a reality.”

Project Skyline is a Network Innovation Allowance funded project worth over £810,000 that will run until June 2022. It is an example of Ofgem’s innovation stimulus programme tackling real challenges and unlocking customer benefits.