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UK Power Networks wins funding to trial electric vehicle to grid projects

UK Power Networks, as part of a consortium, has won £11 million Government funding for four projects as part of a series of Vehicle to Grid (V2G) innovation bids.

V2G technology enables energy stored in an electric vehicle’s battery to be fed back into the electricity network at times of peak demand.

By recharging when demand is low and putting energy into the electricity network when it is high, V2G helps manage the peaks and troughs, balance the network and make it more efficient.

Comprising Octopus Energy, Octopus Electric Vehicles, UK Power Networks, ChargePoint Services, Open Energi, Energy Saving Trust and Navigant, the consortium will roll out vehicle-to-grid charging technology to UK electric vehicle drivers this year. 

UK Power Networks currently has more than 30,000 electric vehicles (EVs) connected to its network and by 2030 it anticipates that figure will rise to up to 1.9m vehicles.

Many of these EVs will be V2G capable and could be used to support delivering electricity reliably and at the lowest possible cost.

The competition is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and is delivered by Innovate UK.

The four V2G projects that UK Power Networks will be taking part in are:

  • Bus2Grid: Supporting a project to turn a 30-bus garage into the first of its kind in the UK Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) bus garage.
  • e4Future: A trial on 1,000 V2G fleet vehicles.
  • Beating Home: Domestic customer V2G trial involving customers in specific areas.
  • V2Street: Public charging networks with a local authority and a charge point provider. Targeted at the 60-70% of Londoners without off-street charging capability.

Ian Cameron, head of innovation at UK Power Networks, said: “Electric vehicles are effectively energy sources on wheels, so there are tremendous opportunities to explore how electricity networks can use any spare capacity in those batteries to benefit our customers.

“In the future you could use your car battery to power your house or earn money by selling its spare energy back into the network at peak times, and all of this whilst ensuring you have enough energy for your next day’s commute. We’re innovating to keep our customers moving at the lowest possible cost.”

Ian Meikle, infrastructure systems director at Innovate UK, said: “The Vehicle-to-Grid competition is a significant step towards the transition to a low carbon transportation.

“The UK represents an ideal market for electric vehicles and smart energy, and the winning projects, the largest and most diverse of their kind in the world, demonstrate that by integrating energy and transportation sectors new business opportunities with clear advantages for EV users and energy consumers arise.” 

Octopus Energy was founded to drive down the cost of energy to customers and Octopus Electric Vehicles is the next phase in that mission. Fiona Howarth, CEO of Octopus Electric Vehicles, said: “There has been a lot of talk from the sidelines about how vehicle-to-grid technology will change the face of energy, but with this consortium we will be the first in the UK to actually deliver it to hundreds of households. We're delighted to be working with this consortium of visionary companies, and proud to be backed by Innovate UK."

Alex Bamberg, managing director of ChargePoint Services, added: “With this consortium, we join with existing partners to enable us to provide real benefits to the end user both in terms of efficiency and reduced cost. Our investment in the GeniePoint Network and its class leading reliability is further enhanced, whilst at the same time ensuring protection and flexibility of the UK’s energy Grid."

Dagoberto Cedillos, strategy and innovation lead at Open Energi, concluded: “Smart charging solutions that align the needs of drivers and the electricity grid are fundamental to the future of sustainable energy and transport. In partnership with our fellow consortium members, we’re applying cutting-edge tech to help realise the enormous opportunity that is domestic V2G charging in the UK, and internationally.”


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