ev.energy, a global software provider of managed electric vehicle (EV) charging, has received funding to scale the UK’s first commercially operating Virtual Power Plant (VPP) using only electric vehicles.
This funding comes after ev.energy became the first software platform to successfully demonstrate commercially shifting energy consumption from the power grid using only electric vehicles.
ev.energy has been awarded an additional £295,000, totalling £754,000, in funding from Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation’s Prospering from the Energy Revolution programme.
The funding will help ev.energy scale its VPP to stabilise the UK power grid and UK energy systems as it adopts EVs and moves away from fossil fuels. The Energy Savings Trust predicts there will be between 8 and 11 million electric vehicles on UK roads by 2030.
On 1 December 2021, ev.energy’s partner, UK Power Networks, the electricity distribution network for London, the South East, and East of England, issued its first commercial dispatch instructions for ev.energy to reduce electricity demand.
ev.energy’s Virtual Power Plant automatically responded to these signals by pausing electric vehicle charging in areas of Norfolk and Essex where the grid was congested. Between 5pm and 6:30pm, power consumption from electric vehicle charging was reduced by 90 percent compared to the unmanaged baseline, alleviating strain on the grid.
Sotiris Georgiopoulos, Head of Smart Grid Development at UK Power Networks, said: “While these localised 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.
“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, electric vehicle 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.
William Goldsmith, ev.energy’s Head of Grid Services, said: ”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.
“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.”