SSEN helps Isle of Wight prepare for the journey to net zero

Research commissioned by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has found that areas of the Isle of Wight will see a dramatic increase in the number of tourists wanting to charge their electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030. SSEN is testing innovative solutions to provide vehicle charging and is inviting drivers who own EVs with a rapid connection to charge their vehicles from a portable battery on 29th October 2021. 

The resident population of the Isle of Wight is around 140,000 but these numbers swell during the summer months. As increasing numbers of people switch to electric vehicles, visitors to the Isle of Wight will become more likely to travel in their EVs and the local electricity network must be able to supply considerably more power. SSEN’s research has found that areas such as Shanklin could see an eightfold increase in EV charging demand by 2030.  

E-tourism: charging demand by electric vehicles on the Isle of Wight [report here], commissioned from Element Energy, examines the impacts of tourists’ EVs in 2030 on four popular locations in the Isle of Wight: East Cowes Ferry Terminal, Shanklin, the Southampton Ferry Terminal, and an upcoming tourist attraction, Woodland Resort. The report finds:  

  • Seasonal tourism can increase EV charging demand eightfold when comparing peak winter and peak summer demand.  
  • Constraints on the electricity network are expected to occur more frequently in rural locations that are popular with tourists. Both ferry terminals and Shanklin were found to have suitable excess capacity in 2030 to accommodate the forecasted demand increases on the electricity network but the lower levels of demand currently experienced in rural areas means seasonal tourists travelling by EV will have a greater impact.  
  • By effectively utilising EV smart charging, the number and frequency of constraints on the network can be reduced significantly. This can be used to defer and minimise network reinforcement costs, providing a cost-effective and efficient solution for the customers and communities we serve.  

SSEN is committed to exploring how demand increases can be accommodated in a cost-effective manner and is exploring alternative solutions to traditional network reinforcement. On Friday 29th October 2021, local drivers owning EVs with a rapid connection (e.g. CCS) on the Isle of Wight are being invited to charge their vehicles from a mobile battery that will be parked at Lakeside Park Hotel (Isle of Wight, PO33 4LJ) from 12 - 3pm.  

Stewart Reid, Head of Future Networks for SSEN said: “Mobile charging provision is just one solution that we are exploring to ensure our network can meet the needs of the communities we serve. We anticipate at least 4.3 million EVs throughout central southern England by 2050 and we are determined that our network will be ready. We have already published plans to invest £4.1bn in our networks and services between 2023 and 2028 which means we will be an enabler and partner for our customers in their journey to net zero. 

“We are undertaking this work to ensure both rural and urban communities throughout our distribution areas are equipped for the future. The learnings from the E-tourism project are helping inform how we think about flexibility, network investment, and solutions for this transition. 

“We invite all interested drivers to join us at our event on the Isle of Wight on October 29th, where we will showcase our findings and demonstrate one of the potential solutions available for customers.” 

Alessandro Zanre, Senior Consultant for Element Energy said: “Element Energy were pleased to work with SSEN on this study on the impact of tourists driving and charging their EVs. SSEN is taking a proactive approach to understanding the implications of fluctuating populations in parts of the country that see large numbers of tourists and we are pleased our expertise in EVs and network impact modelling could support them.  

“The Isle of Wight already sees around two million visitors per year and as their electricity demands change, the network operator must be ready. We are delighted to have played a small part in the Isle of Wight’s transition to net zero and look forward to watching its sustainable tourism develop in future.”