Northern Powergrid has partnered with Nissan to explore how electric vehicles, battery storage and related technologies can be used to support its energy networks.
The distribution network operator (DNO), which is responsible for delivering energy to almost four million homes and businesses, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Nissan to enhance the capacity, capability and resilience of the region’s power network.
The aim is to make the energy system more active and responsive to the changing demands of domestic and commercial customers in the latest example of a shift to a distribution system operator (DSO) model.
Jim Cardwell, head of trading and innovation at Northern Powergrid, said: “Building on what we are already doing around innovation projects, this signals the start of a ground-breaking industry partnership to explore new innovations that could support the creation of smarter, greener energy networks and help shape future technologies to support the efficient roll-out of electric vehicles.”
The companies will not work together to develop plans for a series of projects which will build on Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility model, which is designed to show how EVs can work with energy providers and grid infrastructure to improve local networks.
The car manufacturer, which employs thousands of workers in Northern Powergrid’s region at its Sunderland plant, has already begun trialling its vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology alongside Enel in a number of locations in the UK and mainland Europe.
Speaking to Clean Energy News last month Francisco Carranza Sierra, managing director of energy service for Nissan Europe, said technologies like V2G can allow Nissan’s electric vehicles to have a positive impact on the UK energy system.
“What was originally designed to be in a car has a much bigger role to play in society and that's why at Nissan we created our vision of intelligent mobility. It is a vision in which we are combining mobility and energy, so when you're not using your car for mobility you can plug it into the grid and use the battery to provide services,” he said.
“Part of our job with energy services is to ensure that we are providing the tools to distribution companies, transmission companies, retailers to optimise the grid so that we can increase safely the number of electric cars on the road.”
Since February 2011 up until the end of April 2017, Nissan has sold over 22,000 LEAF or e-NV200 models in the UK, contributing around a quarter of the electric cars thought to be driving on the country’s roads.
Ed Jones, EV manager for Nissan Motor (GB), added: “We’ve always known that Nissan’s EV technology can be used for so much more than just getting people from A-to-B and we’re delighted to be sharing our expertise to help create more sustainable energy networks in the UK.
“Through the integration of Nissan EVs, we can find new solutions that will help shape a society whose energy use is sustainable, efficient and affordable.”
By signing the MoU with Nissan to explore the role of EVs on local networks, Northern Powergrid is following the likes of Western Power Distribution, which is carrying out a large scale trial of EVs to explore their impact, and UKPN which is testing new EV chargers in London.