Innovate UK awards ev.energy a grant to scale the UK’s first Virtual Power Plant powered entirely by electric vehicles.
– UK Power Networks partner, ev.energy, successfully responds to 11 grid ease events
– UK’s first commercially trading EV Virtual Power Plant alleviates grid strain in Norfolk and Essex
– ev.energy secures additional funding from Innovate UK through its Maximise Grid Services project to scale the demonstration
LONDON, Feb. 14, 2022 – The UK’s first commercially running Virtual Power Plant (VPP) employing just electric vehicles has obtained funding from ev.energy, a global software provider of managed electric vehicle (EV) charging. After becoming the first software platform to effectively demonstrate commercially shifting energy consumption from the power grid using exclusively electric vehicles, ev.energy received this money. Innovate UK has given ev.energy an additional £295K in funding, bringing the total to £754K, as part of the UK Research and Innovation’s Prospering from the Energy Revolution program. The funds will be used to help ev.energy scale their VPP in order to stabilize the UK power grid and energy systems as it transitions to electric vehicles and away from fossil fuels.
A virtual power plant (VPP) is a cloud-based distributed power plant that pools the capacities of heterogeneous distributed energy resources (DER) for the goals of increasing power generation and trading or selling power on the electricity market. Virtual power plants can be found in the United States, Europe, and Australia, among other places.
The power distribution network covering London, the South East, and the East of England, UK Power Networks, ev.energy’s partner, gave its first commercial dispatch instructions for ev.energy to lower electricity demand on December 1, 2021. In areas of Norfolk and Essex where the grid was congested, ev.energy’s Virtual Power Plant automatically responded to these signals by suspending electric vehicle charging. When compared to the unmanaged baseline, electricity consumption from EV charging was reduced by 90% between 5 and 6:30 p.m., reducing grid strain.
“While these localized Virtual Power Plants are currently small in scale, they demonstrate the significant potential that can be unlocked from smart charging as the number of electric vehicles increases,” said Sotiris Georgiopoulos, Head of Smart Grid Development at UK Power Networks. “By using apps like ev.energy, smart charging can make electric vehicles part of the solution for a clean, reliable and affordable electricity grid that benefits everyone.”
In return for helping to balance the grid, EV drivers using ev.energy’s smart-charging algorithm, earn reward points worth up to £60 per year in retail vouchers or can choose to offset their carbon emissions from charging.
“This is a significant milestone for domestic flexibility that builds on the ‘Shift’ innovation project and winning our first commercial tender with UKPN back in 2020,” said William Goldsmith, ev.energy’s Head of Grid Services. “UKPN has always been great to work with, and we hope to share our technology with the support of Innovate UK’s funding to support other utilities, charger manufacturers, and the wider industry in the UK and around the world.”
Damien Kelly, Innovation Lead at Innovate UK, said, “Localised systems to balance electricity demand, storage and supply are likely to play a vital role in helping the UK get to net zero. Innovative services using electric vehicles to provide flexibility to the grid have great potential and we look forward to supporting the scale-up and wider demonstration of ev.energy’s Maximising Grid Services project.”