Octopus Energy has announced that its customers have taken part in a Vehicle-2-Grid (V2G) trial using their electric vehicles (EVs) to support electricity grid balancing.
People on the company’s ‘Intelligent Octopus’ tariff are able to use their EVs to balance the grid while charging, as part of the National Grid ESO-led trial of the Power Responsive mechanism.
The ESO announced the trial earlier this month, to encourage the participation of energy users in providing grid flexibility.
The V2G trial is helping to explore how small-scale assets, particularly EVs, could help provide flexibility for the grid via the Balancing Mechanism. It is hoped the trial will lead to a better understanding of how new resources can be integrated into the grid.
Historically the Balancing Mechanism has relied on coal and gas fired power stations topping up supply to meet real-time demand. In future much of the flexibility needed to balance the grid could use small-scale distributed battery assets like EVs and domestic battery storage.
Octopus’s Kraken software, which manages EV charging, will allow for requests from the ESO for more power to be met while still allowing customers to meet their own charging schedule.
Octopus’ ‘Intelligent Octopus’ tariff provides customers electricity for 7.5p/kWh at times of low grid demand. The company says that customers on this tariff have saved “more than £11 million so far this year on charging costs compared to a standard variable tariff (SVT)”.
Octopus says it now has more than 100,000 drivers across its EV specific tariffs.
Alex Schoch, head of flexibility at Octopus Energy Group, said: “EV drivers on our ‘Intelligent Octopus’ tariff now form the UK’s biggest virtual battery – and for the first time ever EVs have entered the Balancing Mechanism. Whilst we sleep, EV drivers are driving down grid balancing costs that are passed on to all customers – saving us all money. This is the ‘smart energy grid’ today – complete radicalisation of the way the system is balanced is here now.”
Claire Dykta, National Grid ESO head of markets, said: “Opening up access to the Balancing Mechanism for electric vehicles and other technologies is an important step for extending consumer flexibility in a net-zero world. This industry-wide trial will provide valuable information to our control room, to help enable the full time availability of electric vehicles in the Balancing Mechanism in future.”
The ESO trial has been enabled through its Power Responsive programme, a new route into the balancing mechanism to demonstrate the potential of this technology. Octopus and other companies have worked together to identify and solve operational barriers via a working group.
Earlier this month, Octopus announced it was improving its Smart Export rates for customers on Intelligent Octopus tariffs. The company also announced expansions to its Fan Club offshore wind tariff, and the doubling of the export rate on its EV tariff, Octopus Go.