UK Power Networks is part of a consortium that has won £11 million government funding for four electric vehicle demonstration projects as part of a series of Vehicle to Grid (V2G) innovation bids.
Vehicle to Grid 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.
The government is to ban the sale of all new diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2040, and it sees a smarter and more flexible electricity system as a major benefit to consumers and a key enabler to transport's future growth.
UK Power Networks currently has more than 30,000 electric vehicles connected to its networks and by 2030 the company anticipate that this figure will rise to between 1.2-1.9m. Many of these electric vehicles 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, added: "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."