May 14, 2019 at 12:23
In total, 456 stations with 912 charging points were connected to Flexpower.
The City of Amsterdam, Netherlands, launched this month Flexpower - tle argest smart charging network for electric vehicles, which maximizes the use of renewable energy, lowers the need for investments in the electric grid and accelerates charging speed during off-peak periods.
The project is conducted by Vattenfall and the City of Amsterdam, together with grid owner Liander, the infrastructure competence center Elaad, and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.
The network includes a total of 456 charging stations with 912 charging points (which is a third of all in Amsterdam) operated by Vattenfall, which were upgraded (power increased by 40%) and connected to the Flexpower.
Having control over the charging stations, knowledge about current production by local renewable sources (mostly solar) and electricity demand, as well as forecasts, the Flexpower can limit charging power during peak periods (otherwise grid upgrades would be required) or increase the charging power during off-peak periods (especially when production from renewable sources is highest) to accelerate charging and quickly makes use of renewable electricity when it's available.
Amsterdam is launching Flexpower because not only are there more and more electric cars, but also the city is growing, as well as there are more renewable energy sources that need to be better utilized.
Increasing load on electricity grid
As the city of Amsterdam is growing, the load on the electricity grid during peak hours will increase 2.5 to 5 times. A part of this increasing load will come from charging of electric vehicles, therefore smart charging will be needed to help mitigating power peak loads on the electricity grid.
Flexpower has been developed to make optimal use of the available grid capacity, by tailoring charging speeds to the electricity consumption and renewable energy production. The charging stations provide slightly less electricity during the hours that households demand a lot of energy, typically between 18.00 to 21.00 hours, and catch up by charging more at night when energy consumption is low or during the day when a lot of local solar power is being produced. As most electric cars are charged outside peak hours, electric car drivers will benefit from quicker charging.
In the past year, Flexpower was used as a test at 52 charging stations with 104 charging points. The charging stations were located in Amsterdam neighborhoods where there is a lot of locally produced renewable energy.
To achieve faster charging at times, the capacity of the Flexpower charging stations has been increased by 40 percent. A regular charging station has a capacity of 3x25 Ampere. The Flexpower charging stations can deliver 3x35 Ampere and also distribute it smarter among the connected cars. It is possible to load up to 2.5 times as fast, also depending on the capacity of the car and battery. The next generation of fully electric cars, with a larger battery and a higher charging speed, will benefit the most.
The Flexpower charging stations are adjusted in such a way that they can be steered based on the daily forecast of solar energy and grid loads. The use of neighborhood energy and flexible charging helps to better distribute the growing demand for the electricity grid.
The City of Amsterdam has supported the upgrade of the more than 900 charging points financially.
Tomas Björnsson, Head of e-mobility at Vattenfall said:
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“Flexpower Amsterdam is a smart network of charging stations that enables faster charging of electric cars when the sun is shining, primarily using locally generated renewable electricity from households in the neighborhood. This lowers the need for investments in the electric grid and thus makes the solution a role model for many large cities in Europe,”.