UK Power Networks (UKPN) has signed a two-year agreement with electric vehicle (EV) charge point operator ubitricity to implement a pilot programme that will shift EV charging away from peak times.
UKPN said that the programme will run across a number of its public EV charge points, shifting a “significant portion” of network utilisation for EV charging away from peak times. The programme also actively manages the charging schedule of its chargepoints and uses ubitricity’s smart charging solution, allowing customers to schedule charging sessions to pause during peak hours from 4-7pm during winter. Therefore, the programme can reduce strain on the electricity grid during periods of high demand.
“Widening participation in flexibility is a key part of our plan to keep connecting low carbon technologies to the electricity network while delivering savings to customers of £60 million in traditional network investment in 2023 alone,” said Sotiris Georgiopoulos, director of distribution system operator at UKPN.
The news follows UKPN launching a flexible electricity tender earlier this month, offering 850MW for bidders in London, east and southeast England as well as covering demand turn-up and demand reduction across 452 different zones.
UKPN said this tender offers energy storage operators, renewable energy plants and generators opportunities to create new revenue streams by ensuring that the region’s power distribution infrastructure is not overloaded and renewable energy is prioritised. Interested bidders can participate for only a few hours of flexible provision per year, and for as little as 10kW per zone.
UKPN offered its first flexibility tender for 95MW in 2019. It has awarded contracts to 38 companies since 2018 for nearly 2GW of flexibility up to 2028. Last year, UKPN launched a flexibility tender aiming to unlock 500MW of capacity across the network.
“We’ve been offering flexibility opportunities for several years now but this latest tender round is our biggest. We need flexible assets on our network to cut costs for our customers and maximise the generation of renewable energy options which are so crucial for helping us achieve net zero,” said Alex Howard, head of flexibility markets at UKPN’s distribution system operator.