Ionity boss calls for ‘preferential’ grid connections for chargers

Long delays could derail transition to sustainable mobility

Ionity boss calls for ‘preferential’ grid connections for chargers

“My recommendation to the regulatory side of things is potentially preferential treatment, or maybe incentives, if you apply for grid connections,” Michael Hajesch, CEO of pan-European charging firm Ionity tells EV inFocus.

“Maybe charging infrastructure and renewables get first go and then others come later.”

More charging stations and more renewables coming onto European grids are causing a bottleneck, in Hajesch’s view. “What we see is that the lead times for getting approval from the grid operators is getting longer and longer and longer,” he complains.

“Grid connection might be really a key success factor to achieve governmental and societal sustainability targets,” Hajesch warns. And lack of clear and recently updated legislation is not going to reducer the risks posed by connection delays.   

Current regulations

A directive published by the European Parliament in June 2019 details the regulation currently in place. It says, quite simply, “Member States shall provide the necessary regulatory framework to facilitate the connection of publicly accessible and private recharging points to the distribution networks”.

“Member States shall ensure that distribution system operators cooperate on a non-discriminatory basis with any undertaking that owns, develops, operates, or manages recharging points for electric vehicles, including with regard to connection to the grid,” the directive continues.

In a separate piece of legislation from the same month, the European Parliament stated the official protocol when handling congested networks. “In the case of congestion, the valid highest value bids for network capacity, whether implicit or explicit, offering the highest value for the scarce transmission capacity in a given timeframe, shall be successful,” the regulation says.

Previous calls

The Ionity CEO is not the first to raise concerns on this issue. Jason Simpson, CEO of UK charge point operator Raw Charging, also told EV inFocus that challenges in getting grid connections for charging stations “has the risk of being a blocker further down the line”.

 there is a lot more investment required in the grid to make it fit for purpose and smarter”.

“There needs to be some consideration of how we modernise regulations to make charge point deployment much easier,” agrees Matthew Adams, transport policy manager for Recharge UK, an EV branch of the association for renewable energy and clean technology.

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