Picture of Matt Allen, CEO of Pivot Power

Pivot Power plans National Grid linked EV charging network

Published:  30 May, 2018

Pivot Power has unveiled plans to build a 2GW network of grid-scale batteries and rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across the UK.

The £1.6 billion programme will lead to the development of 45 sites around the country with 50MW batteries at electricity sub-stations connected directly to the extra-high-voltage transmission system to help the National Grid manage supply and demand.

The company says the battery network will be the world’s biggest, storing enough electricity to supply 235,000 average homes for a day and the ability to release or store two-thirds the power of the planned Hinkley C nuclear power plant will generate.

Sites have been chosen near towns and major roads and will be able to offer mass charging at competitive rates, supporting up to 100 rapid 150KW chargers. They will also be able to support rapid 350KW chargers when they are available in the UK.

The project will address the three biggest barriers to EV adoption identified by the Department for Transport: the availability of chargers, the distance travelled on a single charge, and the cost of recharging.

Graeme Cooper, National Grid project director for electric vehicles, said: ‘We expect the use of electric vehicles to grow rapidly. This innovative solution will help accelerate adoption by providing a network of rapid charging stations across the country enabling cars to charge quickly, efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible.

‘It will also give the system operator more choice and flexibility for managing the demands in the day-to-day running of the network and also help mass EV charging.’

Pivot Power aims to have operational batteries at 10 sites within 18 months. Each will provide a hub that can support a variety of infrastructure such as public rapid charging stations, electric bus depots and bases for large transport fleets.

A site on the south coast could be operational by the middle of 2019, subject to planning approval, and more details will be announced in the coming months.

The core of Pivot Power’s strategy is connecting batteries and rapid charging stations directly to the extra-high-voltage transmission system. The company says this will give it a competitive advantage over existing charging stations linked to the lower voltage regional distribution system by:

  • enabling it to buy power at lower cost
  • having access to abundant power – each will have a 20MW connection, enough to supply a town of 10,000 homes
  • providing economies of scale to drive down building and operating costs

Each site will have a several revenue streams. The batteries will earn money from services to National Grid, from sales of electricity to chargers and from energy trading. They could also potentially provide services to energy-intensive industries. Rapid charging stations will earn income from EV drivers.

Pivot Power CEO Matt Allen said: ‘We want to future-proof the UK’s energy system and accelerate the electric vehicle revolution, helping the UK to clean up its air and meet climate targets.

‘Big problems require big solutions and we are moving fast to put in place a unique network to support a clean, affordable, secure energy system and embrace the low-carbon economy.

‘We are keen to hear from anyone who shares our vision and wants to go electric, particularly partners with large fleets such as local authorities, supermarkets and logistics companies.’

Pivot Power has financial backing from Downing LLP, a UK-based investment manager which has funded more than 100 deals into renewable energy investments since 2010, totalling more than £500 million. And the company is already in talks with institutional and strategic investors, and potential partners, such as car manufacturers, charging providers and technology and energy companies.

Downing has provided financial support for the initial phase of the project and plans to provide further funding as the rollout of rapid charging stations progresses. Members of the public including EV drivers will have the opportunity to invest alongside institutional investors through the Downing Crowd platform.

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