Switched on Scotland: A roadmap to widespread adoption of plug in vehicles

8 Energy Systems

As described in the Roadmap, a key advantage of plug-in vehicles is that much of the infrastructure to support their operation is already in place in the form of a national electricity grid. As the number of plug-in vehicles increases in Scotland, the stresses on the energy system are likely to increase. It is therefore important to fully understand how best to integrate plug-in vehicles into the electricity grid. In addition, plug-in vehicles offer the potential to provide smart contributions, such as vehicle to grid, demand side response and intermediate renewable energy storage.


Scotland's electricity grid supports increased adoption of plug-in vehicles and is made smarter by managed recharging and distributed energy storage.

Scotland continues to make good progress towards generating renewable energy. Provisional statistics indicate that renewable sources generated 56.7% of gross electricity consumption in 2015, 6.9% higher than in 2014[14], and exceeds the 50% interim target for 2015. Plug-in vehicles have the potential to support the use of renewable energy.

Work has been undertaken to understand the impact and opportunities of increased plug-in vehicle adoption on Scotland's energy system. In April 2015, experts from industry, academia, environmental bodies and local and national government were brought together in an E-cosse forum, exploring the topic of energy systems. This was followed by an industry roundtable in January 2016.

Insights from these events informed the development of a report on energy systems and plug-in vehicles to support the Scottish Government's twin ambitions of encouraging widespread adoption of plug-in vehicles and developing, a secure, sustainable and affordable electricity grid. The report was published in July 2016 and includes chapters on policy, electricity distribution and smart grids, demand management, energy storage and supporting high renewable grids, electrical infrastructure, vehicle-to-x applications and energy markets.

The Scottish Government has also committed to develop an integrated energy strategy, set for publication in 2017, encompassing heat, power and transport, representing an important opportunity to align these areas of policy.

The Scottish Government has commissioned the construction of a whole system energy model for Scotland as a key analytical input into the development of policies and proposals relating to climate change. The model makes a series of investment, operational, primary energy supply and energy trade decisions in order to ensure that demands for energy continue to be met whilst meeting any additional constraints, most notably the requirement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland by 80% by 2050.

Projects such as My Electric Avenue have provided a bottom up approach to plug-in vehicle uptake, focusing on clusters of drivers and their effect on the grid. This has helped give Distribution Network Operators a clearer understanding of charging behaviours and local impacts on the grid. In addition, the trial has given participants a greater understanding of the local electricity grid and the effects of electricity use at certain periods.