Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Ceisteanna (324, 327)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

324. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the degree to which electricity requirements are likely to increase over the next 20 years in the event of an upsurge in the production of electrically driven motor vehicles having particular regard to technological advances in this sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12187/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

327. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the extent to which his Department continues to monitor the growth and development of electric motor engines with particular reference to technical advances affecting range, acceleration and speed; the extent to which these developments have been factored into energy requirements for the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12190/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 324 and 327 together.

Through its membership of the International Energy Agency, Ireland has regular contact with all of the leading countries who are actively promoting electric vehicles and we receive regular updates on technological progress and policies to promote electric vehicles (EVs). Technology advances will continue in the sector, with the biggest developments expected to take place in the areas of range increases and reduced recharging times for electric vehicles. EVs currently on the market are offering ranges under 200km per charge. This compares to ranges of approximately 170km two to three years ago. It is expected that similar evolutionary increases in range will continue. This will be delivered through improved battery technology and vehicle design. Such increases in range will impact on the longer term requirements for charging capability such as public charging points and I understand that this is being evaluated by the ESB on an ongoing basis including as part of its current electric vehicle trial.

The ESB is also actively monitoring developments in charging technologies and is working closely with motor manufacturers, charging equipment suppliers and international standards bodies to ensure that Ireland is well prepared for such developments. The level of electricity system impact over the next twenty years of electric vehicles will depend on the level of uptake in the vehicles over that period. The EV Roadmap prepared by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is an estimate of the possible long term electrical energy requirements for electric vehicles operating on Ireland’s electricity network and the associated benefits out to 2050 based on a number of different deployment scenarios.

The report, available on the SEAI website, shows that the electrical demand on the system is unlikely to impact the business as usual development requirements for the electricity grid until 2040. Even then, it finds that charging strategies and time of use pricing methods could be employed to avoid the need for additional grid capacity development until beyond 2050. The reason for this is the high energy efficiency of the EV and the drop in electrical power demand at night time. EVs, therefore, could increase the utilisation of this spare night time capacity and, in doing so, make better commercial use of the existing electrical network assets.

The ESB is also evaluating, through the current EV trial, the impact that electric vehicles are likely to have on the overall energy requirements and the resulting network implications in order to plan for and accommodate the expected increase in demand for electric vehicles over this period. In addition, SEAI has a demonstration project on the Aran Islands which is used to provide evidence of the effect of using electric vehicles on energy imports and energy efficiency gains. I understand that the results of this work will be announced shortly.