UK Government injects £3m into vehicle-to-grid trials

A consortium of energy firms and network operators has received a £3m funding injection from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to develop the first large-scale UK trial of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging infrastructure.

The consortium consisting of Octopus Energy, Octopus Electric Vehicles, UK Power Networks, ChargePoint Services, Open Energi, Navigant and the Energy Saving Trust will deliver the £7m project and install 135 V2G chargers later this year.

The aim of the project is to deliver a cluster of V2G chargers that will create a research opportunity to examine the impact of widespread electric vehicle (EV) use in the UK. The £3m fund will be provided by BEIS and OLEV and delivered by Innovate UK.

Innovate UK’s senior innovation lead Mark Thompson said: “Vehicle-to-Grid is one of the most iconic parts of the electric vehicle domain, and one that represents a great opportunity for engaging society with the energy system for win-win benefit. 

“The Octopus V2G project is part of a creative, diverse and ambitious group of V2G projects announced today that are way ahead of anything being done currently world-wide, and give the UK a genuine competitive edge in the electrification of transport.”

Last year, the UK Government announced it will invest £20m to support V2G projects that allow plug-in EVs to provide demand-response services to the power grid.

Energy on wheels

UK Power Network’s involvement with the project is built on a desire to examine how EVs could provide grid flexibility, while lowering transport and domestic energy costs. By combining V2G technology with the UK’s abundant source of renewables – which set numerous records last year – it is hoped the trial will provide a basis to accelerate grid decarbonisation efforts.

UK Power Networks, which delivers electricity to 18 million people in London, the East and South East, is currently a Distribution Network Operator (DNO), which simply manages the network. However, the organisation unveiled its intention to become a Distribution System Operator (DSO) as part of its vision to help deliver a smart, flexible energy system.

The company has shown a desire to be involved with new vehicle solutions but has called for innovations to be backed by policy guidance that brings car manufacturers, network operators and innovators together to ensure that cities aren’t littered with “white elephants” and “stranded assets”.

“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,” UK Power Networks’ head of innovation Ian Cameron said.

“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.”

Matt Mace

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie