Centrica supports world’s largest commercial electric vehicle project
Led by global data technology solutions provider Hitachi Vantara and electricity distributor UK Power Networks, the world’s biggest trial of commercial electric vehicles (EVs) has been launched.
Up to 3,000 electric vehicles from Centrica, Uber and a large depot-based parcel carrier take to the road supported by distributor Scottish & Southern Electricity, Hitachi Europe and Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions following the green light by GB energy regulator Ofgem to ‘Optimise Prime’, which aims to bring together leading power, technology, fleet and transport companies to test and implement the best approaches to the EV rollout.
The three-year project has been developed to come up with practical ways of overcoming the up-front costs that are currently holding back many of the country’s biggest commercial vehicle operators from making the switch to EVs.
The aim of the project is to deliver an end-to-end overview of what the switch to EVs means for the cables and substations that deliver our electricity; for the businesses that need to invest in new infrastructure; and for the end users that need to power their vehicles.
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It will create a detailed picture of the demands of electric fleet and private hire vehicles, which will make it possible to develop solutions that cut the cost of owning and running electric vehicles, such as charging EVs outside of the electricity network’s peak times.
Engineers from Centrica’s British Gas team will participate in the project, charging their vehicles at home using chargers provided by Centrica Electric Vehicle Services. Demand response services for the project will be delivered by Centrica Business Solutions.
Jonathan Tudor, Director of Technology Strategy and Innovation for Centrica Innovations, said: “We are delighted to be part of this important trial, helping to accelerate the roll out of e-mobility as part of the transition to a future that is cleaner and more connected than ever.
“As a leading energy and services company and operator of a growing fleet of electric vehicles, we know how important it is to find solutions to charging that are both affordable to the customer and manageable from a system perspective.”
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.