The share of electric transport in Amsterdam is growing rapidly and will continue to increase in the coming years. To facilitate this growth and achieve Amsterdam’s ambitions for emission-free mobility in 2030, sufficient charging points are essential. The growth of charging points leads to additional pressure on the energy network, while available network capacity is becoming increasingly scarce. It is therefore important to have the fullest possible understanding of the impact of private charge points on the grid.
Most charge points are expected to be located on private land, such as in garages, at offices and in business parks. For the growth of charge points at businesses and publicly accessible buildings (such as stores, schools and hospitals), the City of Amsterdam has conducted a study to map the impact of charging demand at those locations on the electricity grid. Charging points at homes were not included. It also examined where smart charging solutions could be deployed to prevent too many cars charging at the same time. Finally, some possible follow-up actions by the municipality were drawn up to reduce the increasing peak demand from charging on private land.
A number of steps were followed for this study. First, we looked at where off-premises parking is occurring. Based on a WOZ database, private parking lots (excluding residential) were categorized, such as office, retail or industrial. A location category helps to roughly determine when and how long people park and with what type of vehicle (van, freight or passenger car).
A parking profile was used to calculate approximately when people charge (charging profile) and how much power the vehicles charge (charging demand). The charging profile is displayed per 24 hours to provide insight into the course of charging demand at a given location. This makes it possible to see at what time of day charging demand may be high or low. Through a combination of interviews, previous research and expert estimates, the charging demand was extrapolated for 2025 and 2030.
To find out to what extent the power grid can meet the charging demand, the charging demand was divided into the service areas of the 24 substations to which the companies are connected for their energy demand.
The study shows that the entire charging demand in 2030 in Amsterdam could provide an additional power peak of about 100 megawatts (or 100,000 kilowatts). By comparison, if the average power output of a wind turbine is about 3 MW, then 33 wind turbines for just the charging stations would have to be running at maximum power at the same time to meet the peak demand.
This increase in charging demand is expected in about 1,000 of a total of about 18,000 zip code areas. That is about 6% of the city area and thus very geographically concentrated.
Figure 1: The power profile during a weekday peak day in 2030. `Regular’ means normal charging demand of passenger cars, `fast’ means fast charging demand of passenger cars, `N1′ means vans and `N2/3′ means freight traffic. Behind it is the consumption profile of all inventoried buildings.
Reducing peak demand
To reduce the highest peak load demand, the effect of following solutions was investigated:
- Spreading the charging demand completely over a day (static solution);
- Accommodate the charging demand within the residual capacity of the buildings;
- Designate locations where the largest portion falls within the hours of solar generation;
- Identify locations where peak charging demand is so high that it can be temporarily met by batteries.
Figure 2: Peak demand for private charging aggregated to 24 substations in Amsterdam (2030)
The analysis shows a very high demand from a very small number of chargers. The fast chargers (approx. 550) and the logistics chargers (approx. 1,000) generate a much higher demand than the regular chargers (approx. 14,000).
The total peak charging demand can be significantly reduced at the substation level (30-40%) by applying smart charging techniques such as static and/or dynamic load balancing. These types of techniques reduce or even (briefly) stop the charging of the car in the event of a high load and therefore prevent excessive current peaks.
The analysis also shows that at some of the locations more than 33% of the charging demand falls within a time window of solar generation. These locations are particularly interesting for solar panel investments. Especially within the location categories office & education, distribution and hotels many locations meet this criterion.
Finally, it was calculated that a part of the locations benefit greatly from investments in (stationary) batteries. These locations are characterized by relatively high, short charging peaks, such as quick chargers at stores or depots. A battery could accommodate those short peaks. Again, this needs further specification and requires customization for each location.
Advice to the City of Amsterdam
The municipality of Amsterdam can respond to the increasing peak demand in several ways. Examples of actions the municipality can take are:
- Lobbying for new types of energy or grid contracts in order to make capacity available at the right times;
- In cooperation with grid operators, the municipality can take a pioneering role in pilots with innovative contract forms and demand aggregation from companies. In doing so, the municipality anticipates new legislation around contracts and regulation;
- Expansion of information and advice to companies on smart charging, alternatives to reinforcement and (pilots with) alternative contract forms through existing advisory channels;
- Taking the lead ourselves to further develop flex solutions and make them accessible to companies.