What is OSCP?

OSCP (Open Smart Charging Protocol) is an open-source protocol through which the charge point management system communicates with the energy management system of the site owner or the Distribution System Operator (DSO) system.

OSCP main players

The OSCP establishes the communication between the following players:

  • Charge Point Operators (CPOs) – play a crucial role in the EV charging ecosystem by overseeing the comprehensive maintenance, management, and smooth operation of EV charging stations.
  • Distribution System Operators (DSOs) – organizations in charge of controlling and distributing energy from the generation sources to the consumers

Application of OSCP

For charge point operators, OSCP is implemented to dynamically manage the power load of a network of charging stations. Based on data received via OSCP, such as local grid capacity, current electricity rates, and demand, charge point operators can intelligently decide when and how fast to charge an EV. During high-demand periods, charging may be throttled to maintain grid stability, whereas charging may be accelerated when there is surplus power available.

This protocol allows the Charge Point Operator to modify the different charging profiles and provide the best possible EV charging energy demand without overburdening the grid. This adaptability stems primarily from the 24-hour forecast of grid capacity that OSCP furnishes, allowing operators to anticipate and plan around power availability and demand fluctuations. This proactive approach ensures optimal usage of resources, supporting grid operators, and meeting the users’ needs efficiently while maintaining a balanced and stable network.

Importance of OSCP

With the exponential growth in EV adoption, there’s a substantial increase in demand for energy, which poses a potential strain on power grids, especially during peak hours. In contrast to existing open protocols covering many smart charging functions, Open Smart Charging Protocol “works” with the grid on a far deeper level. OSCP offers substantial advantages and is increasingly incorporated as a prerequisite for larger projects where smart charging must be implemented on a wide scale and interaction with key parties like energy providers and grid operators are essential.

Benefits of OSCP

  • OSCP helps prevent outages by balancing the electricity load, reducing the strain during peak times, and maximizing throughput during off-peak hours.
  • By charging primarily during off-peak periods when electricity is cheaper and more abundant, operators can offer competitive pricing, enhancing customer satisfaction.
  • With OSCP, operators can provide more reliable charging services, reducing wait times and ensuring EV drivers have consistent access to needed resources.
  • OSCP encourages the use of renewable energy by enabling EVs to charge when renewable energy production is high, thereby supporting operators’ sustainability goals

Practical Examples of OSCP

  • When a driver initiates the charging process, an OSCP-compliant Charge Point Operator (CPO) can request additional capacity if necessary. In response, the Distribution System Operator (DSO) assesses current energy availability and decides whether to accommodate this request. Furthermore, the CPO can relinquish unused capacity back to the DSO so other charge point operators can use it.
  • Imagine a scenario where multiple EVs are plugged into a charging station network during peak hours. The system, via OSCP, receives real-time data on the grid’s capacity and can intelligently distribute the available power among the vehicles. For instance, if one vehicle needs immediate charging for a long trip, and others are parked for an extended period, the system could allocate more power to the first vehicle and less to the others, optimizing the use of energy resources without overloading the grid.
  • In areas with significant renewable energy generation (e.g., solar or wind), sometimes supply exceeds demand. This excess energy can be communicated through OSCP, prompting charging stations to lower prices during this period, encouraging EV drivers to charge their vehicles, thus efficiently utilizing renewable energy.

OSCP versions

The OSCP protocol is supported by the Open Charge Alliance (OCA), a global group of leaders in EV infrastructure committed to promoting open standards in the EV charging industry.

The OSCP protocol comes in two iterations:

  • OSCP 1.0: Launched in 2015, this initial version marked the beginning of the protocol, focusing mainly on smart charging for electric vehicles coordinated by the Distribution System Operator (DSO).
  • OSCP 2.0: Introduced in 2020, this updated version expands beyond the original, avoiding terminology that limits its application solely to smart EV charging. It opts for broader language to accommodate the integration of electric vehicles into larger, more diverse energy systems. This change acknowledges the evolving role of EVs within wider energy networks, pointing towards a more interconnected energy landscape.

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