Charging ahead with new EV points at the operations depot

Energy derived from a council-owned solar farm will partially power the local authority’s growing fleet of electric vehicles.

Published: Monday, 28th February 2022

Photo of two people stood next to electric vehicle which is plugged into charging point

The Council has recently installed eight new double-headed electric vehicle (EV) charging points at its Waterside Park base in Cheney Manor industrial estate.

The fast-charge points – which will be partially powered by the energy generated from nearby Barnfield solar farm – will enable the Council to charge 16 EVs simultaneously at a rate of 11 Kw, with a charge time of approximately 2.5 to 3 hours based on an 80 per cent charge (which is optimum for extended battery life).

There are currently 14 full EVs and four petrol-hybrid vehicles in the Council’s fleet, with a further 13 EVs due to be brought on board this month.

The new chargers will make it easier for the Council to charge its existing electric vehicles, while also enabling it to increase the number of ultra-low emission vehicles in its fleet - a significant action in the Council’s Net Zero Emissions Action Plan.

The installation marks the first phase of the Waterside Innovation Hub, a project developed by council-owned Public Power Solutions (PPS), and partially funded through the European Regional Development Fund. The project will see a “smart grid” developed which can be replicated and will support the shift to a low carbon economy.

The Waterside Innovation Hub project will also comprise:

  • A 12 MW/24 MWh battery energy storage system on brownfield land, directly connected to the national grid at Brindley Close – once installed, the battery could generate enough energy to power 3000 homes for two hours when it reaches full capacity
  • A 50 kW solar panel canopy that will stretch over car parking spaces – generating green energy and providing shade

Waterside Park is directly connected to a 2.5 MW solar farm at the nearby Barnfield landfill site, which partially powers the depot and will now help power the new EV charging points during daylight hours.

Councillor Keith Williams, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Finance and Commercialisation, said: “These new charging points mark an important milestone in our ambition to electrify our vehicle fleet and reach net zero organisational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030.

“We want to lead by example and show organisations and residents that a transition to low emission vehicles is not only possible - it’s happening at pace here in Swindon. I would encourage anybody who is interested in learning more about sustainable transport to visit the Be the Change webpages on the Council’s website.” 

Steve Cains, Director of Power Solutions at PPS, said: “PPS is very pleased that the first phase of the Waterside Innovation Hub is now complete with the installation of these EV chargers for SBC.

“This exciting project aims to create a demonstrator which can be scaled and replicated as a sustainable future energy model, encompassing battery storage, EV chargers and a solar canopy on the same site. Once again we are showing how Swindon can lead the way in green power technology, and can help other local authorities deliver on their renewable-powered EV charging needs.”

The Council’s shift away from petrol and diesel vehicles is in line with government ambitions to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, with all new cars and vans being fully zero emissions from 2035.

While the new EV chargers will not be available for public use, there are a number of public chargers located around the Borough that residents can make use of. These include 11 double-headed fast on-street EV charging points in Central Swindon and Eastcott, which were installed by the Council last year.

Residents can find out what other actions the Council is taking to combat climate change, as well as the steps they can take to reduce their impact on the environment, by visiting the Be the Change webpages:

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