V2G’s value proposition for the UK energy transition

Vehicle to grid (V2G) has been a hot topic globally as grid management and resilience become a growing concern. The increasing prevalence of issues surrounding renewables integration and energy management illustrates how solutions like V2G are required to maintain the stability and efficacy of our energy supply.

With the ever-increasing amount of electric vehicles (EVs) that have been coming onto the grid, planning how to manage the grid’s wear and tear while maintaining grid functionality is more relevant than ever.

Keith Buddon, head of business development at Cenex – an independent non-profit research and consultancy – responded to this quandary during the Smart Mobility Africa Fleet Summit, taking place during Enlit Africa 2022.

Leveraging the UK as a case study, Buddon illustrated how V2G and smart charging practices have been shown to provide diverse value propositions in light of the grid challenges that have been becoming more apparent through the years.

These propositions include:

  1. Revenue benefits

    Linking vehicles back to the grid can provide significant revenue opportunities for consumers when working in concert with one’s energy company.
  2. Resilience

    V2G allows for consumers to secure a backup power source in the case of an emergency.

    Buddon related this back to the case of Japan, where the concept of V2G in the Asian archipelago expanded rapidly “as a means of ensuring electricity supply following the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and ensuing rolling blackouts.”
  3. Individual contributions towards net zero through self-sufficiency

    Buddon explained an environmental focus over V2G: “Potentially one’s house or office or clinic can be supported by a range of electric vehicles utilising their batteries as a mobile power source for a significant amount of time.”

    He elaborated how if one makes use of solar power on their buildings, they would be helping with energy resilience and self-sufficiency. Rather than exporting, vehicles can in these cases be used as battery storage.
  4. Cost reduction and carbon mitigation

    Approaching V2G from a policy perspective, elaborated Buddon, will allow us to create a more equal society. It will, he continued, “enable effective costs for all households, reducing the cost for all.

    Additionally, “V2G could defer network upgrades of £5bn ($6.3bn) and… a saving of 6MtCO2e per year.”
  5. Enhanced battery management

“Unmanaged charging is the worst thing one can do, but with vehicle to grid you can get an extended battery life by 10% or additional cost savings. Thinking about that in commerce, vehicles with large batteries (higher usage) offer significant opportunities for V2G.”

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British electrification

Buddon contextualised these propositions by highlighting the rate of electrification that the UK has seen over the last six years. In December 2016 a total of 0.6% of cars were fully electrified, compared to half a dozen years later – where this figure grew to 25.5% by 2020. In light of this development, Buddon reaffirmed the necessity of well-structured policies to drive the transition to comprehensive electrification.

According to Buddon’s graph on electrical load shifts, from between 2013 to 2020 the UK system has seen a significant curvature in when and how consumers use their electricity.

This shift calls for attention into how our load is managed to prevent harmful effects on the power grid.

“People have begun to use a lot more electrical equipment. And as the industry has gotten more efficient, moving offshore, we find the load to drop throughout the day,” Button explained.

This large drop in power demand during the day was also accompanied by having more and more renewables becoming available, particularly solar energy during the day when the sun shines. This, according to Buddon, resulted over time in a large peak experienced by the grid, which has been causing major changes to the UK energy system.

“And so, with electric vehicles, if these are plugged in after arriving at home after a day’s driving, that peak gets made significantly worse. And this is where smart charging and vehicle to grid comes in.”

Buddon related these propositions to the potential of V2G to allow society to wean itself off of unsustainable power plants as a source of energy.

And while there is still a lot to be done in the way of challenges barring widespread electrification, there is momentum and potential for a fully electrified future.

Source: metering.com

V2G’s value proposition for the UK energy transition