Western Power Distribution (WPD) is launching a new vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial as part of its Electric Nation project.
The V2G trial will involve up to five separate energy suppliers, a feature that WPD says sets the trial apart from others into the technology.
It is to be run in partnership with CrowdCharge, with recruitment for 100 participants currently underway. To incentivise this, the duo are offering free installation of smart chargers worth £5,500 to Nissan electric vehicle drivers who live in the Midlands, South West and South Wales.
Whilst applications are now open, the timescale for charger installations is dependent on government advice on COVID-19. The trial is set to take place between March 2021 and March 2022, with participants expected to earn a minimum reward up to the monetary value of £120 over this period.
The trial is a “more realistic simulation of a future world”, WPD said as it is partnering with multiple suppliers. Each supplier will use their chargers to test various energy services, utilising CrowdCharge’s demand management charger platform, which provides "optimised charging sessions".
The DNO trialed smart charging in the original Electric Nation trial in 2018/19, citing the need for smart charging to help mitigate the increased demand resulting from EV charging, particularly during the evening peak.
This trial provided data from over two million hours of car charging, which then revealed the impact of different tariffs, as well as user habits on when, where and for how long drivers charged.
However, WPD went on to say that it believes V2G will, in fact, be “more effective than smart charging” due to the ability to link EVs together and put "significant levels" of energy back into the grid at peak times.
Roger Hey, DSO systems and projects manager at WPD, said it is "urgent" that the energy industry continues working to find practical solutions to meet net zero.
"By harnessing flexible systems and introducing V2G charging, it means that we can build a far more efficient and flexible network that doesn’t require billions of investment and a huge uplift in capacity," Hey added.
The V2G trial was first mentioned in WPD's updated EV strategy, published last month.