Avoiding curtailment. Orkney's story.
Orkney is leading Scotland in the adoption of electric vehicles, with approximately 200 vehicles registered amongst a population of 20,000 and a FaceBook group of Orkney-based EV owners has more than 200 members.
The Orkney Renewable Energy Forum holds a database of willing EV owners who provide details of their vehicle purchase date and monthly mileage. They also run a programme of promotional events ranging from attendance at shows and fairs to two visits by Robert Llewellyn’s Fully Charged programme.
Some local development trusts operate car clubs or community transport. The Rousay, Egilsay & Wyre Development Trust operate their own car club, the Isle of Hoy Development Trust runs a hybrid community bus across several routes and the Shapinsay Development Trust runs a community bus and electric vehicle.
Orkney is also subject to grid curtailment, where the local electricity grid’s “Active Network Management” system reduces how much power renewable energy generators can produce when there is insufficient local electricity demand. This curtailment affects wind turbines owned by local communities.
The switching on of EV charging has the potential to overcome some of these issues, creating additional electrical demand when there is renewable energy available, and this is exactly what the SMILE project is doing on Orkney – installing “smart” EV chargers in domestic properties and B&B’s, which will charge EV’s when there is surplus renewable energy, enabling community-owned turbines to keep turning and generate more revenue for local communities.
An EV Ecosystem
An EV ecosystem will require a number of different players including people who are willing to purchase EV’s, new and used EV’s being available for sale, charge points in suitable locations and Garages that can carry out EV servicing and repairs.
In order for people to consider transitioning to electric vehicles mindsets need to be changed. Community organisations and schools can be well placed to encourage this transition.
Owning Chargers – Income for Communities?
Chargers on the ChargePlace Scotland network are free to use, whereas privately owned chargers tend not to be. However, it is unlikely that charger owners will provide free EV charging indefinitely.