Building a Britain Fit for the Future?

The UK’s new “Industrial Strategy” was published last week. The last time we had a good look at UK plc’s strategy was three years ago, when we concluded that “it rather sounds as though ‘Storage to Grid’ (or S2G for short) is a more likely prospect here in the United Kingdom than fully fledged V2G”. So how about this year?

The foreword by Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business,Energy and Industrial Strategy (or BEIS for short), states that:

This Industrial Strategy deliberately strengthens the five foundations of productivity: innovation, people, infrastructure, places and the business environment.

At the very least “innovation” and “infrastructure” sound like the sort of things we get up to here at V2G UK. Here’s how Gov.UK visualises our future infrastructure:


Moving on, Greg continues:

As well as setting a path to improved productivity, our Industrial Strategy sets out four areas where Britain can lead the global technological revolution. These four Grand Challenges – in artificial intelligence and big data; clean growth; the future of mobility; and meeting the needs of an ageing society – have been identified on the advice of the our leading scientists and technologists. They will be supported by investment from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and matched by commercial investment.

There’s a video explaining the ISCF:

There’s even a video summarising each of the Grand Challenges. Electric vehicles get a mention in the one about mobility:

We’ve previously touched on the Government’s new “clean growth” strategy on the V2G blog, and obviously we’re inordinately interested in the “future of mobility”, so there really should be something of interest to us in the 131 page white paper. Let’s delve a little deeper shall we? Under the “infrastructure” heading we’re told that:

Our approach is to undertake a comprehensive package of measures to promote the uptake of zero emission vehicles. We have announced a further £100m for the plug-in car grant to incentivise the purchase of battery electric vehicles, and we are committing to 25 per cent of the cars in central government department fleets being electric by 2022. We are announcing an additional £200m of public investment, to be matched by private investment, to create a new £400m Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund, and we will regulate to support further expansion of the charging infrastructure network.

That certainly sounds like very good news for our Camelford electric car club project! What’s more:

After the Grenfell Review, we will update building regulations to mandate that all new residential developments must contain the enabling cabling for charge-points in the homes. We will also provide £40m to support new technologies for on-street and wireless charging.

All of which sounds like very good news for our SaMDES project which envisages installing static battery storage and V2G charging stations in homes and small businesses across the South West of England. The news gets even better! A little further on we discover:

The zero emission road transport strategy, to be published in the coming months, and work on the options for the long-term decarbonisation of heating will build on this. They will support the growth of markets for technologies that create synergies between systems, such as energy storage, smart meters, vehicle-to-grid charging and heat networks.

Will the sweet music to our ears never stop? Not for the moment at least. Next we discover that:

We are determined to tackle air pollution and support affected areas, given the significant negative impact it has on public health, the economy and the environment. We will provide £220m for a new Clean Air Fund that will allow local authorities in England with the most challenging pollution problems to help individuals and businesses adapt as measures to improve air quality are implemented. This new fund is in addition to the £255m provided to implement the Air Quality plan earlier this year.

That sounds like more potential assistance for Camelford due to the town’s Air Quality Management Area status. Moving on once more, regular readers will be aware that we are proponents of energy efficiency. “Negawatts not Megawatts!” we cried when the predecessor to BEIS pulled the plug on zero carbon homes a couple of years ago. Will they make amends now? Unfortunately not really. There are a couple of sentences to the effect that:

In the more immediate term, energy efficiency and reforms to the retail energy market will provide the opportunity to lower bills. Up to £6bn could be saved in 2030 through investment in cost effective energy saving technologies in the industrial and commercial sector.

We will encourage greater investment in energy efficiency measures and technologies, including by developing a new scheme to support investment in industrial energy efficiency, to help large businesses install measures that will cut their energy use and bills, as we as improve their productivity.

Plus there’s:

We want to support greater collaboration between councils, a more strategic approach to planning housing and infrastructure, more innovation and high quality design in new homes and creating the right conditions for new private investment.

From where I’m sat I’m afraid that’s not a patch on “the proposed 2016 increase in on-site energy efficiency standards” that bit the dust in 2015. The white paper contains some great news if you’re into decarbonising transport, as we most certainly are. However unfortunately reducing the energy wasted by the UK’s poorly insulated housing stock, both old and new, still seems to be very much on UK plc’s back burner.

It seems as though we still have a long wait in store before homes like this will be constructed as a matter of urgency:


Shell Joins the IONITY High Power Charging Network

Our “High power charging” prayers have been answered! Three weeks ago we bemoaned the apparent lack of any plans to roll out the freshly announced IONITY network of CCS charging stations here in the UK. However IONITY have just announced that:

IONITY, which was founded only a few weeks ago, is taking off quickly. The joint venture of BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen with Audi and Porsche has formed initial strategic partnerships for the realization of its “High-Power-Charging” (HPC) network for electric vehicles in Europe. By teaming up with Shell, OMV, Tank & Rast and Circle K, IONITY has secured the coverage of more than half of the approximately 400 sites planned between now and the year 2020. Other partnerships are planned.

By joining forces with Shell, IONITY will be able to install its fast charging infrastructure at sites throughout ten European countries: Belgium, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. This collaboration will reinforce the business strategy pursued by both companies to offer more and more drivers of electric vehicles a fast, reliable charging service at attractive sites.

It was announced back in October that:

Shell, one of the world’s largest energy providers, has signed an agreement to buy NewMotion in a deal that will enable both companies to accelerate the transition to low-carbon transport.

Under the terms of the deal, NewMotion will remain focused on accelerating its mission in Europe by delivering more innovative smart-charging solutions to homes, businesses and public parking spaces. The acquisition will help NewMotion enhance its electric vehicle (EV) charging services turning more parking spaces into charging stations as well as improving users charging experience across Europe.

One way and another it looks as though Shell have some big plans for electric vehicles!

Static and Mobile Distributed Energy Storage Launched At Long Last

Our roadmap didn’t call for this announcement just yet, but on Autumn 2017 budget day Philip Hammond, the Great British Chancellor of the Exchequer, had this to say:

The next day Nissan’s Francisco Carranza made an interesting announcement on Twitter:

In a bit more detail, Nissan announced:

Nissan Motor Parts Center in Europe is the first company in the Netherlands to make its roof available to others for the production of sustainable energy on a large scale. The electricity generated is sufficient for the power consumption of 900 households. The first section becomes operational at the end of February. The project will be fully completed in May.

With the installation of this immense solar roof, Nissan is taking a further step toward its strategy focusing on Intelligent Mobility, with sustainable energy as one of its cornerstones.

“This project is perfectly suited to Nissan’s endeavors to make mobility smarter and more sustainable,” said Koen Maes, managing director Nissan Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg). “That’s why we are working on sustainable energy production and on projects such as energy storage in used batteries – vehicles which return energy to the network and car sharing. The solar roof is one of the cornerstones.”

That’s pretty much the way we see things too, and after a couple of false starts over the years the team here at V2G UK decided to accelerate our plans:

Here are some other things that have been happening on Twitter over recent days:

In case it’s not yet obvious to you, our Static and Mobile Distributed Energy Storage project roadmap includes rolling out just the right sort of V2G capable electric vehicle charging station for our purposes. My personal Twitter profile reads as follows:

I’ve been programming computers since the late 60s. We had to build our own! Now what can I program next? Will I have to build it first?

It looks as though the answer to that question is YES!

Meanwhile the V2G UK Twitter profile concludes:

A friendly local neighbourhood energy market would also be nice!

Are we going to have to build that too?

V2G Explained by the Mainstream Media

V2G is now a hot topic in the UK mainstream media! A few days ago The Times newspaper published an article on vehicle-to-grid technology. According to Edward Lucas:

The hunt is on for cheaper and better storage, which is where electric cars come in. For its owners, the car battery is an unused asset most of the time, just as the engine is for those of us with old-style vehicles. Yet for grid managers dealing with the spikes and troughs in demand, a terawatt hour stored in spare batteries is exactly what is needed. Instead of subsidising standby generators, we can pay car owners to sip power from their vehicles’ batteries.

But making this work on a larger scale requires change. Our existing energy set-up is centralised: big power plants transmit large amounts of electricity over long distances to passive consumers. This arrangement copes with the 115,000 electric cars we have now. But it will not be fit for 2040, when the government intends to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars. By then we are predicted to have more than 25 million electric vehicles.

Done wrong, that will resemble something like a vast network of electric kettles. Charging them all at once at home would crash the grid. Consumers will curse, costs will soar and benefits will shrivel. To avoid that, the electricity system of the future will have to look like the internet: decentralised and interactive. Consumers will also be producers — perhaps from rooftop solar panels or by supplying power from their car batteries back into the grid when needed. Demand will be smarter: appliances will adjust their consumption according to price. Electric car owners, for example, will not mind exactly when their vehicle is charged, so long as it is ready when they need it. They will take advantage of cheap electricity just as consumers do already with night storage heaters.

The prospect is both exciting and daunting. Dieter Helm, the energy economist who recently reviewed energy costs for the government, says that the combination of electric vehicles, battery technology and digitisation presents challenges of a scale and magnitude not witnessed since the reconstruction of our electricity system after 1945.

Today the BBC have followed the Times’ lead by publishing an article by Theo Leggett with a slightly different perspective. Unfortunately they included at the top a stock photo of what looks a lot like a Renault ZOE instead of a Nissan LEAF. Here’s one of our stock photos of a 2016 LEAF, which is V2G capable:


However currently the ZOE is not. Here’s what one of those looks like:


Theo points out that:

At the Nissan Technology Centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, a number of the company’s electric Leaf models are lined up alongside a bank of chargers. But these cars aren’t just drawing energy from the grid; they’re also putting it back.

The system is called Vehicle to Grid, or V2G. The Japanese company is developing it in partnership with the Italian power firm Enel and is already operating a small trial hub in Denmark.

Electric cars are, in effect, energy storage devices, and because they spend much of their time parked up not doing anything they can help smooth out the peaks and troughs in energy demand.

“Basically, we can consider the car as a battery with wheels,” says Maria Laura Corallini, the engineer in charge of the V2G project.

“You can use the energy storage capability in the battery to provide specific services back to the grid.”

The system uses software to regulate the charging level of multiple vehicles.

When the grid needs extra power, it can draw very small amounts from each individual vehicle. When energy is abundant, it can top them up again. Users will get paid for the electricity they provide.

If thousands of cars are connected together, then the amount of energy given back to the grid can be substantial, and it can be varied on a second-by-second basis.

Initially the plan is to sell it to businesses that operate large fleets, although the company says it will also introduce a residential version. Other organisations are also experimenting with the technology.

I suppose V2G UK must count as one of those “other organisations” in this context! Theo continues by referring to an oft mentioned tale of V2G woe:

Not everyone agrees that V2G makes commercial sense, however. The chief technical officer of Tesla, JB Straubel, for example, has suggested in the past that he doesn’t see it becoming a viable solution, largely due to its cost and complexity.

I am forced to agree with JB that here in the UK V2G currently doesn’t “make commercial sense”, which further forces me to reveal once again this image of a Tesla Model S connected to a V2G capable bi-directional charging station in the Netherlands:

Unfortunately in all the circumstances that particular Tesla was only capable of charging from the kerbside bi-directional charging station. The BYD e6 parked next to it could however also discharge, ultimately to the local distribution grid. Do you suppose that if and when the “cost and complexity” reduces and V2G does “make commercial sense” in Tesla’s view, power will suddenly start flowing in the opposite direction down that stout red cable?

redT Flow Machine Connects to Centrica Local Energy Market

In a press release last week redT Energy announced that it:

Is pleased to announce that in partnership with Centrica, its flagship UK 1MWh energy storage project is now fully operational and connected to the UK grid

This is exciting news because the project is located in North Cornwall just like us!

redT’s machines located at The Olde House, a 600 Acre working farm and holiday retreat, situated in North Cornwall, will be used as a ‘flexible platform’ enabling the customer to generate strong commercial returns and utilise significantly more of its renewable solar onsite generation. redT expects this type of project to achieve an IRR % in the mid-teens. The energy storage machine has a 25+ year asset life, thus proving the strong investment case for redT’s patented vanadium redox flow machines.

This is the largest operating containerised vanadium redox flow machine system in the UK and the first commercial energy storage system to sign up to Centrica’s Local Energy Market trial. The LEM is a £19m project designed to demonstrate the role that flexible generation and storage can play in relieving pressure on the grid and driving down energy prices in the UK.

Here’s what the containerised flow machine (not battery!) looks like:


Somewhat unusually the redT press release has an accompanying sound track. It’s an interview with redT CEO Scott McGregor, which you can listen to here. Note in particular the section at 1 minute 40 where Scott says:

The Cornwall grid is probably one of the weakest grids in the UK and has a GW of renewables on it, but it’s stuck. You can’t put any more on.

This is of course a big problem! Going back to the redT press release we are informed that:

The potential addressable market for behind the meter industrial and commercial (I&C) energy storage in the UK is in the range of 3,000 GWh total (calculated using 2016 Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) data). Making a conservative assumption of 20% take up across all I&C sites in the UK, this equates to 8 million redT tank units.

Here at V2G UK we cannot help but wonder if all the energy that could be stored in the battery packs of millions of future electric vehicles might not come in handy too?

IONITY – A New Pan-European High-Power Charging Network

In a press release a couple of days ago it was announced that:

BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and the Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche today announced joint venture IONITY that will develop and implement a High-Power Charging (HPC) network for electric vehicles across Europe. Launching approximately 400 HPC stations by 2020, IONITY will make long-distance journeys easier and marks an important step for electric vehicles.

Based in Munich, Germany, the joint venture is led by Chief Executive Officer Michael Hajesch and Chief Operating Officer Marcus Groll, with a growing team, set to number 50 by the start of 2018.

A total of 20 stations will be opened to the public this year, located on major roads in Germany, Norway and Austria, at intervals of 120 km, through partnerships with “Tank & Rast”, “CircleK” and “OMV. Through 2018, the network will expand to more than 100 stations, each one enabling multiple customers, driving different manufacturer cars, to charge their vehicles simultaneously.


As that image implies:

With a capacity of up to 350 kW per charging point, the network will use the European charging standard Combined Charging System to significantly reduce charging times compared to existing systems. The brand-agnostic approach and Europe-wide distribution is expected to help make electrified vehicles more appealing.

Unfortunately, from our perspective at least, it seems as though “Europe-wide” doesn’t currently include the United Kingdom. What’s more the new joint venture isn’t worldwide “brand-agnostic” either. It seems unlikely that any Japanese EV OEMs will be joining the group any time soon. When it comes to rapid charging they currently prefer the CHAdeMO connector!

Storm Brian Power Cuts

Less than a week after ex Hurricane Ophelia battered Ireland another named storm is due to arrive overnight. This one is more conventional than Ophelia, since Brian never was a Hurricane. However despite that he still packs a considerable punch. This time around Met Éireann have issued an orange wind warning for coastal areas in the south of Ireland:

Wind Warning for Coasts of Mayo, Galway, Clare, Kerry, Cork, Waterford and Wexford

Southeast winds of mean speeds 55 to 65km/h with gusts of 90 to 110km/h, will veer west or northwest and strengthen further during the night, reaching orange level with mean speeds of 65-80 km/h with gusts 110-130 km/h. Winds will ease to yellow warning level during Saturday evening.

Issued: Friday 20 October 2017 12:16
Valid: Friday 20 October 2017 22:00 to Saturday 21 October 2017 22:00

Meanwhile the UK’s Met Office has issued a yellow wind warning across much of southern England:


A swathe of strong south or southwesterly winds reaching parts of Wales and southwest England will steadily transfer east and north during the morning. Later in the afternoon winds will gradually turn westerly and wind inland will start to slowly ease. Meanwhile, in western and southern coastal areas winds will start to slowly ease later in the evening. Gusts of 45 to 55 mph are expected widely within the warning area with gusts of 60 to 70 mph along exposed southern and western coastal areas. These are expected to coincide with high tides, leading to locally dangerous conditions around coastal areas in western and southern parts of England and Wales.

The local surf forecast for North Cornwall from Magic Seaweed reveals even bigger waves than Ophelia produced:


Meanwhile according to ESB Networks:

ESB Networks have now continued to restore power this morning, with power now restored to 343,000 families, farms and businesses. Approximately 42,000 customers remain without supply.

​The worst impacted areas are in the environs of Enniscorthy, Wexford town, New Ross, Bandon, Dunmanway and Fermoy.

Assisted by contractors, crews from Northern Ireland and overseas utilities, as well as the army and air corps, ESB Networks will continue restorations to every last family, farm and business until their lives are back to normal.

A Met Éireann Status Orange wind warning has been issued for seven coastal counties, including Cork and Wexford, will hamper restoration efforts. Should the weather conditions worsen further, our crews will be stood down until it is safe to resume repairs again. Winds speeds up to 130 km/h will cause outages to customers in Mayo, Galway, Clare, Kerry, Cork, Waterford and Wexford on Saturday.


[Edit – October 21st 10:00]

This morning ESB Networks have released a power cut heat map revealing how far their restoration efforts after Storm Ophelia managed to get before Storm Brian arrived:

ESB Networks have now restored ​363,000 homes, farms and businesses who lost power supply due to the damage inflicted by ex-hurricane Ophelia. Our crews are continuing to work to restore the 22,000 homes, farms and business that are still without supply.

The locations of these homes, farms and businesses are highlighted on the heat map below.


Our crews will work to restore everyone as long as it is safe to do so. We are acutely aware of how difficult the situation is for all of customers who remain without power.

Power cut numbers are now rising again. By our reckoning there are currently just under 30,000 “homes, farms and businesses” without power across southern Ireland.


[Edit – October 21st 11:00]

A couple of pictures from Porthleven by Cornwall Live’s Sally Adams:




[Edit – October 22nd]

In this morning’s update ESB Networks report that:

While Storm Brian hampered power restoration following Storm Ophelia and caused additional outages on the system, work continued as and when safe to do so.

10,000 homes, farms and business remain without power this morning, down from 385,000 at the peak on Monday. Whilst Storm Brian caused additional problems good progress was made and the total number without power this morning is now 10,000.



[Edit – October 22nd PM]

This evening ESB Networks report that:

ESB Networks continue to restore electricity supply in the worst impacted areas of Counties Cork and Wexford. Approximately 6,000 customers are currently without power, a number of which are due to Storm Brian.

Here is an illustration of the remaining homes, farms and businesses that we are working to restore.


V2G in the BEIS Basement

Last Thursday we took the train up to London because the next morning we were attending a meeting organised by the British Standards Institution on the topic of “The future of standards for a smart, flexible energy system“. Instead of one of the BSI’s own offices the venue for the event was the conference centre of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, just around the corner from Westminster Abbey.

Apart from attending the event itself we were also one of five SMEs displaying our wares in an adjacent room. Here’s how our stand looked when we’d just about finished setting up:


That was when a BEIS engineer told us what we’d missed during our journey the previous day. The announcement of the UK Government’s new Clean Growth Strategy:

An ambitious blueprint for Britain’s low carbon future.

This strategy sets out our proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy through the 2020s. It explains how the whole country can benefit from low carbon opportunities, while meeting national and international commitments to tackle climate change.

No doubt we’ll have much more to say on all that in due course, but for the moment here’s an overview of V2G Limited’s clean growth strategy, as displayed in the BEIS basement last week. First of all let’s take a look at the problem UK plc has committed to tackle:


That’s the output of a “medium complexity” climate model running on V2G’s trusty Raspberry Pi 3B and displayed on BEIS’ 55 inch screen. Note that the carbon dioxide concentration had been increased to 405 ppm from the default 280. Amongst other things that’s a graphical demonstration of just how much number crunching bang you get for 1.3 bucks in this day and age. Now our little computational engine doesn’t forecast the weather of course, but the United States’ National Hurricane Center’s much larger engine does. Here is it’s Friday 13th forecast for Hurricane Ophelia:


I don’t think anybody’s accurately added up the costs attributable to Ophelia yet, but according to Wikipedia at the moment:

Damage has been estimated at 1 billion euros ($1.18 billion USD), making it one of the most expensive storms ever to strike the UK and Ireland.

Having outlined the problem, here’s a slightly modified version of V2G’s 5 year old artist’s impression of part of the solution that was also on display in the BEIS basement:


How much might the financial damage cause by Ophelia’s passage have been reduced if every building in the UK and Ireland had access to some local energy generation plus some static and/or mobile energy storage? Whilst you ponder that question, here’s a close up of our RasPi 3B together with its cousin, a Raspberry Pi 2B with a cluster of 4 baby Raspberry Pi Zeros on its back:


The RasPi 2 was running our new open source UK plc carbon intensity plotter. Here’s what that revealed on Friday the 13th of October 2017:


As you can no doubt readily appreciate the graph is not a horizontal line! The value at any time is dependent on demand of course, but also on the amount of renewable generation in the mix. That is highly dependent on the weather, and indeed the weather forecast should you be attempting to control UK plc’s carbon emissions. If you’re “committed to tackling climate change” you really should be committed to minimising the integral of the blue line representing UK plc’s actual carbon intensity. Unfortunately that’s not how the UK’s energy markets currently operate. Perhaps they need a redesign?

The Raspberry Pi Zeros only have a single core rather than the 4 cores on the climate modelling 3B. Nonetheless at a cost of four Great British Pounds a pop (plus tax) they are more than capable of acting as a highly “intelligent” device connected to a Great British “smart grid”. Ours already run a variety of British “standards for a smart, flexible energy system”. If you doubt that please feel free to read all about the time V2G’s offices suffered their very own “blackout”. As I pointed out way back then:

Such a piece of electronics wouldn’t in and of itself add a whole lot to the price of an electric vehicle and/or a garage in Dunchideock, or anywhere else on the planet for that matter.

I cannot help but wonder how much the Great Dunchideock Blackout cost Western Power Distribution, how much the evidently changing climate in this part of the world is costing and will cost them, and how their electricity distribution network is coping with the assorted stresses and strains generated by all the renewable power sources currently being tacked onto it down here in not so Sunny South West England that do not currently have any form of energy storage associated with them.

Moving on to the near end of our table at BEIS, here’s a LEGO tableau representing our artist’s impression of a passenger free connected vehicle driven by a “robot” deciding which of three possible electric vehicle charging stations it should connect to:


In this instance its battery is nearly flat, it’s in a hurry to pick up another human and the grid is in good shape so it’s therefore decided to select the ultra rapid “robotic” charging station. This may seem like child’s play, but it isn’t. On Friday Julian Anderson of Thales e-Security stopped by our stand. We had a bit of a play with the Lego and a longer discussion about the cyber security implications of connected vehicles and autonomous EV charging.

Here’s another point to ponder. Apart from BEIS and Thales we also had a long conversation with an engineer from Ofgem about “community energy markets“. However the people who make policy were conspicuous only by their absence from our audience.

N.B. There’s already another big storm on the way to us here in South West England, as well as Ireland once again. This one’s called Brian, and according to the Met Office:

Between 04:00 Sat 21st and 23:59 Sat 21st

A spell of strong southwesterly winds is expected. Some coastal routes and communities are likely to be affected by large waves, with potential for flooding of properties. Some transport disruption is likely across the warning area, with delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport. Short term loss of power and other services is also possible.


Hurricane Ophelia Power Cuts

Hurricane Ophelia is heading in our direction. Reaching category 3 strength earlier today she is the strongest hurricane on record this far east in the North Atlantic. Moving further north over cooler waters her maximum wind speeds have now reduced to category 2. By the time she gets here she will have morphed into an extratropical cyclone, but she’ll still be packing hurricane force winds. Here is the current forecast from the United States’ National Hurricane Center:



Met Éireann have issued a red wind warning across the south of Ireland:

Wind Warning for Wexford, Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Waterford

Hurricane Ophelia is expected to transition to a post tropical storm as it approaches our shores on Monday bringing severe winds and stormy conditions . Mean wind speeds in excess of 80 km/h and gusts in excess of 130km/h are expected, potentially causing structural damage and disruption, with dangerous marine conditions due to high seas and potential flooding.

Here’s the Met Office’s warning of an amber alert for Northern Ireland tomorrow, together with a yellow wind warning for us here in Cornwall:


Finally, for the moment at least, here is the current Magic Seaweed surf forecast for North Cornwall tomorrow:



[Edit – October 16th 08:00]

Here’s our weather forecast for today in North Cornwall:


It definitely sounds blustery outside! Western Power Distribution’s power cut map doesn’t display anything too unusual yet:


However a few power cuts have started appearing on ESB Networks’ map of Southern Ireland:



[Edit – October 16th 11:00]

Over 35,000 properties are now without power across southern Ireland:


The lights are starting to go out here in South West England too:


The waves are getting bigger too:



[Edit – October 16th 16:00]

The ESB Networks power cut map seems to have given up under the strain. At 14:00 it showed over 180,000 properties without power. Meanwhile the storm has been bringing down power lines in Northern Ireland:


and Wales:


There are now a total of ~3500 properties without power across Western Power Distribution’s four areas of the country. Here’s how our local surf spot looks at the moment:



[Edit – October 17th 11:00]

Here’s a selection of reports about Ophelia from the media, together with this morning’s set of power cut maps:



Engineers from Electricity North West are working in difficult conditions today to restore power after ex-hurricane Ophelia hit the North West overnight.

The region’s power network operator has restored supplies to more than 16,000 properties throughout the night following the Met Office’s yellow weather warning for severe gales of 60 to 65mph.

Around 2,000 properties remain without power as flying debris has hit power lines and high winds make access difficult for repair teams. Properties are affected mainly in the Lake District with 1,700 without power and 150 properties in Lancashire are currently without power.


As a result of the high winds brought by the remnants of Storm Ophelia, whilst a number of customers have had their electricity supplies affected, the level of power cuts is considered busy but not exceptionally so.

The biggest impact has been in West Wales and Cornwall where a number of weather related incidents have occurred.

Currently around 3,000 customers are off supply. All incidents are currently being worked on by our engineers, with supplies on track to be restored this evening.

Since around 9am this morning we have restored around 12,000 customers in the South West and South Wales.


According to ESB Networks:

We are advising all customers impacted by outages that they should prepare to be without electricity for number of days. It is very important that any customers who use electrically powered medical devices should contact their healthcare professional to make alternative arrangements if necessary.

According to the Irish Times:

The country is facing days of “catch-up” as schools, hospitals, roads, electricity networks and other key public infrastructure are cleared of debris or repaired following Storm Ophelia.

Three people were killed on Monday in the worst storm to hit Ireland in more than 50 years, which left hundreds of thousands without electricity overnight.

The storm caused the most devastation in the south and west but left every county with some level of disruption.

Ministers and senior officials have warned that it will take days for some public services to get back to full strength. All schools will remain closed on Tuesday to allow for safety inspections to take place, with most expected to reopen on Wednesday.


[Edit – October 18th]

ESB Networks report that:

The following map shows the remaining faults caused by ex-hurricane Ophelia to be repaired. We have restored over 70% of homes and businesses and here are currently 105,000 homes and businesses still without power that are represented on the following map by the black circles. The bigger the circles the more faults there are that need to be repaired in that area.


Electricity North West have now repaired almost all the faults caused by Ophelia:

Engineers from Electricity North West have worked tirelessly to repair damage caused by ex-hurricane Ophelia and subsequent bad weather and restore power to the majority of customers in the region.

Despite working round the clock to restore power to those affected by ex-hurricane Ophelia on Monday and early Tuesday, further bad weather last night from 6.30pm caused power cuts to another 5,000 properties along the county’s west coast.

Engineers worked through the night and restored power to all but 18 customers and they will continue to work today to restore those final few customers located in Egremont, Cumbria.

Electricity North West has turned their attention to assisting the restoration efforts in the Republic of Ireland. A team of more than 30, including engineers and overhead lines people, will help repair damage and restore power to thousands still without power in the Republic of Ireland.


[Edit – October 19th]

ESB Networks have produced another power cut heat map. This evening they say that:

ESB Networks have now restored power to 322,000 homes, farms and businesses affected by ex-hurricane Ophelia. The following map illustrates the ​63,000 homes and businesses that we are currently working to restore.



[Edit – October 20th]

Here’s the latest power cut heat map from ESB Networks:

42,000 homes, farms and businesses remain without power this morning. These are highlighted in the following heat map.


The rate of progress numbers wise from here will slow down as each individual fault must be repaired pole by pole. Also with the weather forecast to worsen the conditions that the crews are working in makes the restoration effort more difficult and slower.

In a later news release they report that:

ESB Networks have now continued to restore power this morning, with power now restored to 343,000 families, farms and businesses. Approximately 42,000 customers remain without supply.

​The worst impacted areas are in the environs of Enniscorthy, Wexford town, New Ross, Bandon, Dunmanway and Fermoy.

Assisted by contractors, crews from Northern Ireland and overseas utilities, as well as the army and air corps, ESB Networks will continue restorations to every last family, farm and business until their lives are back to normal.

A Met Éireann Status Orange wind warning has been issued for seven coastal counties, including Cork and Wexford, will hamper restoration efforts. Should the weather conditions worsen further, our crews will be stood down until it is safe to resume repairs again. Winds speeds up to 130 km/h will cause outages to customers in Mayo, Galway, Clare, Kerry, Cork, Waterford and Wexford on Saturday.

Renault Launches New “Energy Services” Division

In a press release this morning Renault announced that:

Groupe Renault, Europe’s number one manufacturer of electric vehicles, is pleased to announce the creation of Renault Energy Services. The aim of this new subsidiary is to have an active presence in the energy and smart grid sectors, both of which are fundamental to the expansion of electric mobility.

We certainly won’t argue with that proposition, since we’ve been saying much the same thing at much greater length for over 5 years now! The press release continues:

Renault Energy Services will function much like a start-up and its objective is to invest in smart grid-related projects by forging privileged ties with the energy industry’s various stakeholders. Renault Energy Services will focus chiefly on the development of smart charging, vehicle to grid interaction and second-life batteries.

It seems as though Renault are 5 years behind us on this one? There is more. According to Renault’s Senior Vice President for Electric Vehicles, Gilles Normand:

The creation of Renault Energy Services marks an important step forward. Investing in smart grids is key to both reinforcing the lead we enjoy in the European electric vehicle market and accelerating the EV industry’s scale-up.

This is what Renault’s “Smart Grid” infographic looks like:


According to Renault’s press release once again:

Groupe Renault intends to make a real contribution to the expansion of smart charging networks which, by facilitating the communication of data, are capable of making real-time adjustments to the supply of electricity for more-efficient management of resources. Renault electric vehicles connected to smart grids will benefit from more economical, lower-carbon electricity. In addition to permitting the development of smart charging, smart grids favour both interaction between electric vehicles and networks (vehicle to grid) and projects involving second-life batteries:

  • Smart charging adjusts battery charging rates as a function of customers’ needs and the availability of electricity via the grid. Batteries are charged when supply exceeds demand, notably during renewable energy production peaks and when rates are at their cheapest.
  • In vehicle to grid systems, electric vehicles provide electricity to the grid during peak hours. In this way, not only do they benefit from the advantages of smart charging but they also serve as a means to temporarily store energy.
  • Even once their life as a power source for electric vehicles is over, EV batteries continue to be capable of storing a significant amount of energy. Renault is able to harness this energy, notably for the purposes of stationary energy storage. By giving batteries a second lease of life, Renault is today in a position where it can cover the full spectrum of energy storage needs, from individual homes to office buildings, factories, schools and apartment blocks, and even the charging of electric vehicles.

Unfortunately the press release doesn’t include Gilles’ mobile number. That’s a shame, because I’d love to have a quick word with him!