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Erstellungsdatum: 29.02.2024

ElWG must not slow down the ramp-up of e-charging infrastructure expansion

In a statement on the draft of the new Electricity Industry Act (ElWG), Hauke Hinrichs, CEO of SMATRICS, emphasises the positive approaches, but also points out obstacles to the rapid further development of e-mobility.

"The new Electricity Industry Act will set the course for the expansion of the e-charging infrastructure," says Hauke Hinrichs, CEO of SMATRICS. "We welcome the steps towards greater transparency." Regulations such as a mandatory joint website on free grid connection capacities will increase planning security and drive expansion plans forward.

Another new feature of the ElWG is the definition of a part of e-mobility as an end customer - which also includes charging infrastructure operators. This will reduce bureaucratic hurdles in future. However, this exception is not clear enough for every facet of electromobility. This is because the provision of electricity by owners of consumer systems to charging infrastructure operators must also be explicitly taken into account.

This is not clear in the current definition. This could lead to system owners withdrawing from the installation of charging stations. As a result, there would be a risk that the expansion of charging stations would be hampered, and with it the entire decarbonisation of transport.


Revise the showstopper for e-mobility 

SMATRICS sees a need for action to further strengthen the charging infrastructure as the backbone of mobility. "We need to take the brakes off and ensure more speed in the expansion of the e-charging infrastructure with lean processes and transparency," emphasises Hinrichs. Specific examples are:


Processing times for applications and network access must be shortened

On average, it takes between twelve and 18 months to receive new access to the grid after a grid offer has been commissioned. This means that the maximum times specified in the ElWG for network requests are not met for the majority of requests. SMATRICS has already called for Austria-wide standardisation of processes and implementation regulations in its 2023 master plan in order to facilitate the construction of infrastructure. The distribution system operators must be better equipped in terms of resources.


Exclude e-charging stations from the definition of energy storage facilities

In the current draft of the Electricity Act, e-charging stations in combination with e-vehicles are defined as energy storage facilities. Firstly, this is factually incorrect, as the storage takes place exclusively in the e-vehicle and the charging station is merely an instrument for transmitting energy. Secondly, such a definition would represent a further obstacle to the e-mobility ramp-up, as grid operators - who currently provide both charging infrastructure and e-vehicle fleets - would only be allowed to hold energy storage facilities under certain circumstances.


Preventing favouritism through corporate structures

SMATRICS cannot rule out a distortion of competition in favour of electric mobility companies that are affiliated with grid operators. However, information on available grid services and expansion options for charging stations must be available to all market participants in the same way and at the same time. Corresponding provisions for the unbundling of these corporate structures must be incorporated into the Electricity Industry Act.


Amendments to the Electricity Industry Act that focus more on e-mobility can make a significant contribution to supporting the cooperation of all players involved and to positioning Austria well for the mobility and energy transition.