If Engie’s acquisition of EV-Box pointed towards an emerging trend of DSO EV infrastructure ownership, then it's about to be nullified by the Clean Energy Package's proposal that EV charging infrastructure should be developed and owned ‘mainly by market players’.
Engerati contacted the European Commission to seek clarity on the term ‘mainly’, as its ambiguity has vexed many. On the face of it, it would appear to suggest that DSOs are out of the EV infrastructure race before the end of the first lap.
European Commission responds
The full response from the European Commission to our request for clarity reads;
“Electric vehicles (EVs) will be a significant new load in the electricity system and at the same time a considerable source of future flexibility through V2G services. DSOs should be able to procure flexibility services that EVs can provide through for instance an aggregator, but should not be the only user. Moreover, we should avoid cases of cross-subsidisation between distribution and electro-mobility activities, and distortion of competition in both electricity and transport sector. The proposed framework seeks to address these issues, while also provides the option to DSOs to be involved in the deployment of EV recharging points when there is no interest from the market, for instance during the initial phase of electro-mobility development.”
There will still be questions asked as to how this would work in practical terms. If a commercial operator has no interest then one would assume a lack of commercial viability. So why would that be attractive to a DSO? Furthermore, if a DSO makes a success of a deployment in that scenario, and a commercial party therefore becomes interested, can the DSO retain ownership or must it step aside?
Utility operating models
There are indeed many creases still to be ironed out. Will it be a help or a hindrance to utility operating models? We explore further in the Engerati Quarterly magazine.