IBM leads study on impact of electric vehicles on UK power grid

London, March 18, 2010 — IBM agreed with the Energy Technologies Institute to evaluate the potential impact of electric vehicles on the UK electricity grid.

The project will also assess the infrastructure required to achieve a mass market for electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the UK.

IBM will lead the coordination of a consortium of companies, EDF Energy, E.ON and Imperial Consultants, in conducting the study. The UK government has already committed 300 million pounds to create the infrastructure for plug-in vehicles and has provided consumer incentives.

Supporting infrastructure has already begun rolling out in London, the North East and Milton Keynes. In addition, the Office for Low Emission Vehicle’s has said it will provide grants of up to 5,000 pounds for consumers who buy ultra-low carbon cars.

The project will focus on a number of areas:

* Analysis of how growth in electric vehicle recharging could impact electricity distribution networks, and what steps energy companies could take to overcome any barriers to supplying demand.

* Identification of the smart infrastructure needed for mass market uptake of electric vehicles in the UK.

* Design concepts for the ‘intelligent architecture’ of interconnected data and systems needed to enable local networks of electric vehicle charging points linked to the distribution networks.

* Planning for design changes that maintain distribution networks’ effective operation and management.

* Assessment of current issues and likely future developments involving regulatory, legislative and commercial matters related to the recharging infrastructure.

The IBM led research is one of three projects totaling 4.5 million pounds that have been launched as part of the ETI’s 11 million pound Electrification of Light Vehicles program.

The other projects will assess the economic and carbon benefits as well as the consumer behavior patterns linked to the mass rollout of plug-in vehicles.

Together the projects are intended to propose an overall system architecture for integrating plug-in vehicles considering: electricity networks, charging points and payment systems and helping to ensure compatibility across the UK.

The three projects will culminate in the largest electric vehicle analysis to date in the world with more than 3,000 vehicles owned and driven by consumers. Over 11,000 charge points will be installed across areas in London and the South East, the Midlands and the North East.

IBM has a history of expertise in smart grids and intelligent infrastructure, having been involved in more than 60 smart grid projects around the world — from research projects to full scale deployments.

IBM is currently partnering with the country of Malta to create the first nation-wide smart grid and has completed a pilot project with DONG Energy in Denmark to install remote monitoring and control devices to gain information about the state of the grid. This project alone reduced outage times in Denmark by as much as 50 percent.


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