SSEN and UK Power Networks scan the Skyline to prepare for electric vehicles’ arrival

SSEN and UK Power Networks scan the Skyline to prepare for electric vehicles’ arrival

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

The UK is seeing a significant growth in electric vehicles, which will also mean a considerable increase in electricity demand. Recent research commissioned by SSEN showed there could be an increase of 11,000% in the number of EVs on UK roads by 2050. Data analysts at UK Power Networks, 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 3.6m by 2030. 

Electricity network operators Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) and UK Power Networks are working together, in partnership with the EIC, ElectraLink and CrowdCharge, to launch the Skyline project. It will enable them to pinpoint when and where new electricity demand to charge electric vehicles 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, 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 were not previously involved in the data-sharing process.

The project will develop a new digital platform connected to a data-driven Application Programming Interface (API), which will allow multiple data sources to feed in crucial data for early visibility of EV uptake. This will create an automatically updated database. 

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. 

Digital firm CrowdCharge will develop the computer platform and EV database for the project, and energy market central body ElectraLink will provide the API. The project will be developed in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements. 

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.

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