Ofgem has set out plans for major system reforms to support the rollout of electric vehicles and accommodate more renewables and battery storage capacity on the system.

The regulator said more flexible use of the energy system will allow more electric vehicles to be charged from the existing grid and reduce the need for expensive new power stations and extra grid capacity to be built.

It is now consulting on plans which it said will reduce the cost to consumers of meeting the extra demand from electric vehicles as well as connecting them and more renewable generation, battery storage and other new technologies to the grid.

According to Ofgem analysis if EV owners use ‘flexible’ charging - where they only top up outside peak demand times on the grid – at least 60% more EVs could be charged up compared with ‘inflexible’ charging where electric vehicles are only charged at peak times.

“The reforms will free up existing grid capacity to allow new generators, including businesses or other organisations which want to generate their own power on-site, to get connected to the grid more quickly. The reforms would make the electricity system more efficient by giving generators and other users more choice and flexibility on how they connect to the grid,” it said.

‘Flexibility first’ approach urged

Meanwhile a group of businesses have said network operators should adopt a “flexibility first” approach to utilising the electricity grid.

In an open letter to Energy Minister Claire Perry, a group of 24 companies and organisations – including the Renewable Energy Association and Ovo Energy – called on the UK Government and energy regulator Ofgem to incentivise networks to prioritise procuring flexibility services over and above traditional reinforcement measures.

The group wants to see flexibility at the heart of the second “Revenues = Incentives + Innovation + Outcomes” (RIIO-2) price control mechanism, on which Ofgem is currently consulting.

Measures include optimising the utilisation of the network and adopting “whole system outcomes”.

> Read the consultation document in full