At Vlissingen’s train station, lots of transportation modes converge. Commuters exiting the train station can continue their journey on the Westerschelde ferry to Breskens, can grab a shared car, or get in their own vehicle. More and more of those vehicles are run on electricity. The province of Zeeland took this opportunity to look into the feasibility of an electric vehicle charging hub that would also generate electricity. How can we combine production and demand while taking into account the changes in demand throughout the seasons and in the coming years? How can we make this charging hub “smart”?
This is a Grid Edge Consulting project. For starters, we identified the potential for production and the expected rise in demand for charging. Our partner OverMorgen identified the expected charging demand and the potential for deploying car-sharing services in the region. Based on those estimations we identified the expected demand throughout the year and searched for energy production sites in the area. We spoke to several stakeholders, including a water energy producer which is located in the port, businesses with a roof with a large potential for solar, and the national railway. We used all our findings as input for several simulations of future energy streams and financial flows.
Based on these simulations, we concluded that a solar carport that hosts several chargers (50 in the middle scenario), shows the most potential. Unfortunately, the business case for local production is not positive, because of the relatively small scale and the limited capacity of the charges, especially if you need to combine several production sites. Smart charging, however, by balancing the charging load amongst the chargers, can lead to an increase in the number of chargers connected to the grid connection. With smart charging, the sum of the chargers is aggregated and balanced to stay within grid limitations, meaning that e.g. chargers reduce their charging powers during maximum occupancy. We therefore highly recommend smart charging, also because it requires a fairly small investment.