Innovate UK has granted funding to the software provider ev.energy to scale their first Virtual Power Plant (VPP) using only electric vehicles. The funding comes after the startup successfully demonstrated the concept by working with the British utility UK Power Networks.
The Virtual Power Plant manages EV charging in line with demands from grid operators, essentially a smart V2G use case. In concrete terms, ev.energy and UK Power Networks (UKPN), the electricity distributor for London, the South East, and East of England, issued its first commercial application. The VPP automatically responded to signals sent by the grid operator by pausing EV charging in areas of Norfolk and Essex where the grid was under strain.
“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,” said Sotiris Georgiopoulos, Head of Smart Grid Development at UKPN.
Damien Kelly, Innovation Lead at Innovate UK, added, “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.”
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.
For the funding at hand, ev.energy has been awarded an additional £295K, totalling £754K, in funding from Innovate UK, as part of the Energy Revolution programme. The scheme has a budget of around £104m to invest in projects to trial and demonstrate the potential of intelligent local energy systems around the UK. Innovate UK is the government’s innovation agency and part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
For ev.energy, the company claims its software manages EV charging for 35,000 drivers and on behalf of utilities operating in the US, UK, Europe and Australia.
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