Munich, Germany, 30 October 2023 – In early October, the Italian government announced a new subsidy program for private charging infrastructure in single and multi family homes. The government is offering 80 million euros to support installations made in the home in 2022 and 2023. Private homeowners and multi-family homeowners are eligible to hand in their applications to receive the financial support. A few weeks later, the government announced that an additional 87.5 million euros would be allocated to support the installation of EV charging stations for professionals and businesses, the majority of which will be directed towards enterprises. According to Andrea Albergoni, Account Executive for Italy at gridX, Europe’s leading smart energy company from Germany, the subsidy sets a new strategic direction for Italy towards more sustainable mobility. “With this new support, the Italian government is giving consumers a strong incentive to switch to electric vehicles (EV) – a foundational step in Italy’s mobility revolution,” he says. According to the expert, smart energy management solutions should also be a crucial consideration when purchasing an EV and private charger.
Successful mobility transition helps limit global warming
The expansion of e-mobility is a core pillar of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. However, an accelerated rollout of EVs and their charging infrastructure in Italy as a result of the new subsidy could pose some serious challenges to the power grid, which was not built with e-mobility in mind. Grids and grid connection points (GCP) in Italy were built for systems with centralized power generation when the consumption of energy was stable and predictable. But this is no longer suitable for modern energy systems. With a general shift towards intermittent renewable energy generation and more flexible consumption of energy – such as charging countless EVs – grid requirements have changed. Charging an EV’s battery requires a large amount of energy. When plugged in, an EV will automatically try to charge as fast and with as much capacity as possible. Thus, charging an EV can easily exceed grid limitations, such as the grid connection point (GCP) of a family home, which is typically just three to six kilowatts. If there are multiple electric cars on a site or if other devices consume power at the same time as an EV being charged, the GCP could easily be overloaded and fuses blown.
Smart energy management is an economical solution for private homes
To prevent overloads, Albergoni names two options. The first would be to extensively expand the grid connection capacity so that high peak loads do not overload the GCP. “This is a rather timely and cost-intensive solution and therefore not at all economical,” the expert clarifies. The other option is applying a smart energy management system that connects an EV charger to the household’s grid connection point, energy meter and other assets that consume or produce energy, such as a battery or photovoltaic (PV) system. In doing so, the energy management system takes control of all energy flows in the house and optimizes them to effectively prevent overloads. Additionally, it ensures that energy is most efficiently used, “which is especially interesting if energy is produced locally via rooftop PV,” explains Albergoni. With smart energy management, charging processes can be aligned with overall local consumption, enabling charging to be shifted, for example to low price periods in the night or when there is self-generated energy. On the other hand, an EV could be charged with higher capacity if the grid connection capacity is not being fully utilized.
Since Italy is already very advanced in the implementation of smart meters, homeowners could also leverage dynamic tariffs to save even more money on energy consumption with the help of a smart energy management solution, the expert said. “It’s the perfect setup for a win-win situation in Italy: applying smart energy management in private homes not only prevents fuses from blowing and grid connections from being overloaded – it also helps homeowners reduce their energy consumption from the grid through maximization of self-consumption, all while improving their carbon footprint and minimizing energy bills,” Albergoni says.
((Photo: © gridX GmbH, Reprint free of charge))
The Italian government now subsidizes new charge points for homes and businesses. However, the power grid in Italy is not well prepared for massive amounts of parallel EV charging. Smart energy management can be the solution to protect the grid from overloads.
gridX is Europe's leading smart energy company based in Aachen and Munich. With its IoT platform XENON, gridX enables manufacturer-independent monitoring and management of distributed energy resources. XENON allows partners to develop and scale energy management solutions faster than ever before. By partnering with gridX, Fastned is able to install more charging points at sites without the need for costly grid extensions, and the Viessmann Group is able to offer its customers intelligent and integrated home energy management systems.