City of York Council has opened a new electric vehicle (EV) HyperHub at Monks Cross with renewable generation and energy storage assets at the site able to support the balancing of the energy network.
The EV hub at Monks Cross Park & Ride is one of the two new fast charging facilities created by the City of York. The second site will be located at Poppleton Bar Park & Ride. Together, they will constitute the largest ‘HyperHubs’ in the region, and the first project of this type that ties together EV charging, renewable generation and energy storage in the City.
The funding for the HyperHubs is also unique, with the City of York Council successfully securing £1 million of European Regional Development Funding and £800,000 from the Office for Zero-Emission Vehicles, along with £400,000 of the Council’s own capital funding to install the first two HyperHubs. This has resulted in 80% of the £2.2 million projects being externally funded.
The local authority has chosen GridBeyond – an intelligent energy technology provider – to control and monetise energy flexibility at the Monks Cross site. The hub consists of solar panel canopies, an energy storage unit and both rapid and ultra-rapid chargers; the latter being the first for the City. GridBeyond will be responsible for managing the flexibility of a 350KW on-site battery and enabling its participation in grid balancing services. By connecting the battery to the AI-powered energy technology platform, GridBeyond Point, energy flexibility of the hub will enable National Grid to integrate more renewable energy sources onto the electricity network, further supporting the decarbonisation of the economy.
In addition to advancing the Net-Zero agenda, the City of York will receive a regular monthly revenue from National Grid for participation in frequency balancing services. GridBeyond’s platform will provide advanced energy monitoring, forecasting and reporting on the battery and its state of charge, ensuring the flexibility is monetised through the most lucrative programmes and markets. All of this will be achieved without any impact on the operations of the charging hub or an upfront cost for the City of York. The battery and solar panels are provided by EvoEnergy, the UK’s leading expert in renewable assets.
A key element behind the development of the HyperHubs was the production of an Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy by the City of York Council. This looked at a wide range of issues in order to ensure that the HyperHubs met the needs of residents, fleets, commuters and through traffic. The convenient location of the charging hubs was a central part of the strategy, with the first two HyperHub sites being located off the ring road next to established Park and Ride sites.
The Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy also identified that it wasn’t yet commercially viable for the private sector to develop such charging hubs, so the City of York Council would own its charging network in order to guarantee the best results for residents. This allows the council to plan how the network will grow and to set tariffs, as well as making it directly accountable and enabling it to deliver next-generation chargers as quickly as possible.
The Monks Cross site features four 175kW ultra-rapid chargers (which can be upgraded to 350kW when more EVs can charge at this rate), four 50kW rapid chargers, with an adjacent area having thirty 7kW chargers for Park and Ride users.
Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader, and Cllr Andy D’Agorne, Deputy Leader of City of York Council, commented: “The ‘HyperHub’ does not only deliver immediate benefits to the EVs users, enabling them to charge their cars easily and swiftly, using renewable energy, but the project will also contribute to the decarbonisation of the whole energy network.
“Thanks to GridBeyond’s technology, the on-site battery, used to store energy and charge EVs, will also provide additional flexibility to the power network, supporting National Grid with greater integration of renewable sources into the energy mix and advancing the net-zero agenda.”
Mark Davis, Managing Director UK & Ireland at GridBeyond, commented: “We are delighted to be working with the City of York Council and EvoEnergy on ensuring the maximisation of both financial and environmental benefits from the battery at the new EV charging ‘HyperHub’.
“The development of a reliable EV charging infrastructure is a critical enabler for energy transition and grid decarbonisation. All the more so when, like in the York project, the charging units are co-located with renewable generation and energy storage assets that can support the balancing of the energy network while delivering additional revenue for the battery owners.
“Besides participation in grid balancing services, AI-powered energy technologies, such as GridBeyond’s Point platform, enable operators of the EV networks to generate more efficiencies through the access to wholesale market – whether it is to buy energy when it is the cheapest and store it in a battery, or sell the energy when the prices are at their highest.”
Jonathan Roper, Principle Renewable Energy Consultant at EvoEnergy, added: “The York HyperHubs, with elements such as ABB rapid and ultra-rapid chargers, solar energy generation and battery storage, act as a technology showcase. Combined with GridBeyond’s management of the battery for participation in grid balancing services, the sites actually help to strengthen the electricity grid and will allow the latest electric vehicles – and the next generation of EVs – to charge in a hassle-free way, helping to reduce emissions from road transport in York.”
Images courtesy of EvoEnergy.