Catapult modelling to support Vehicle-to-Grid electric car project

Energy Systems Catapult has been appointed to provide modelling support in a consortium project that is studying how to reward drivers who use their electric car batteries to support the UK’s power grid.

The aim is to unlock an understanding of the key drivers in supporting roll out of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies, enabling millions of electric car batteries to become a vital part of the UK energy system.

The project focuses on how, when electric vehicles (EVs) are left plugged into smart, two-way charging points while not in use, their batteries can actually feed power back into the network at times of peak demand.

Smart chargers can then control when cars recharge to avoid adding stress to the network and to store surplus power when demand is low. This has the potential to allow the grid to operate more efficiently, support higher levels of renewables and reduce reliance on fossil fuel power stations. Done effectively this would lower the cost of ownership for EV owners.

While doing this, new business opportunities are set to emerge to help realise benefits for both EV users and energy consumers more widely. The consortium is seeking to establish what the opportunity for V2G is and, where benefits are identified, what mechanisms would be most effective to realise that potential – drivers of EVs, owners of smart chargers and charging sites such as car parks, and aggregators of battery capacity.

Leading transport and energy companies, including National Grid, Western Power Distribution and car manufacturer Nissan are collaborating in the project, led by Element Energy who will also coordinate the modelling, supported by ourselves, Moixa and Cenex.

ESC will provide the modelling capability to establish the energy system impacts of implementing V2G under a range of different vehicle uptake and electricity generation scenarios. This analysis will inform the opportunity available to future V2G providers and establish key drivers and dependencies that would influence V2G revenue.

National Grid and Western Power Distribution will advise on electricity system operation and distribution network challenges and opportunities. Nissan’s European Technical Centre will provide real-life data on driver behaviour, drawing on experience of delivering more than 500,000 EVs worldwide.

The study V2GB – Vehicle-to-Grid Britain – is one of 21 projects sharing nearly £30 million of government funding in a competition run by Innovate UK, which seeks to make the UK a world leader in low carbon vehicles and represents a significant step towards the transition to a low carbon transportation and a smart energy system.

The findings of the study will be published in spring 2019 and will be used to help to assess how significant V2G revenues could be and the extent to which they could influence EV uptake within the wider market and policy environment.

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Vehicle-to-Grid GB: Decarbonising Britain

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