BEAMA Recommends “Electrification by Design”

We’ve previously looked at the British Electrotechnical and Allied Manufacturers’ Association’s “Guide to Electric Vehicle Infrastructure“. Now they have released a new report which looks at electric vehicles in the context of the “transformation of our energy system”.

BEAMA summarise their “Electrification by Design” report with 6 “market design imperatives”:

Electrification by Design explores simple policy mechanisms and regional structure options to promote wide scale deployment of low to zero carbon electric systems.

  1. Electrification is a national need, but optimised, flexible energy systems will be delivered by regions and zones empowered to identify the most appropriate paths.

  2. Integrated and innovative finance packages are essential for market transformation.

  3. The supply chain must have sufficient capacity to promote sustainable growth.

  4. Consumers need confidence that services, systems and devices form part of a structured consumer journey. We need to navigate a critical path to electrification and decarbonisation.

  5. Demand Side Response needs concurrent and planned development of regulation, technology and markets.

  6. New and innovative ways of purchasing and providing energy services will emerge.


We wholeheartedly agree with BEAMA’s recommendation that:

The first priority is the energy efficiency of buildings

NegaWatts not MegaWatts” has long been a mantra of ours! Other recommendations regarding transport, energy storage, buildings and energy markets include:

  • Implement a mix of smart solutions such as managed charging, reinforcement and infrastructure upgrades to facilitate consumer uptake of EVs
  • Future proof the house building programme
  • Focus on the value of intelligent control and enable platforms that support interoperable services, systems and devices
  • Design markets so that all participants can engage with price signals and allow for market evolution as improved technology emerges
  • Keep the market open to new entrants to expand the range of service propositions to consumers
  • Co-locate storage, generation and charging at key large charging locations

Looking more closely at the section of the report devoted to electric vehicles, BEAMA have this to say:

A flexible and optimised energy system will balance the introduction of new technologies into buildings with the challenges these new loads can place on the network. This is particularly relevant to the sharp increase in electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Technology that can perform load management or response functions can be connected to the network or deployed in the home, electric vehicles can be sold to the consumer and charging points installed, but without markets that allow providers to stack revenues and build their consumer propositions the potential value of this technology will never be realised.

I couldn’t have said it better myself! The UK Government is committed to a rapid electrification of road transport, but current energy markets represent a significant barrier to realising the potential of the technology. BEAMA add:

As the rollout of new technology and services continues without the right market conditions, their value is eroded or delayed. This is even without considering the lost upstream value and savings that these services could be providing to other market participants such as focused and planned infrastructure spending and energy management supported by Demand Side Response.

EVs are mentioned once again in the section of the report that discusses “passive consumers”:

Electric vehicle sales are rising rapidly and a well-functioning flexible energy system will reduce the impact of the ‘all electric’ switch to as little as a 5GW peak rise in electricity demand (8%), but only if we have the required level of engagement from consumers; in turn, this means getting the consumer proposition right.

Moving on to the “Transport” section of the report, our views begin to diverge from BEAMA’s slightly. They reiterate their 6th bullet point above:

Technology is likely to enable faster and faster charging rates, and reducing charging times to 5-10 minutes (similar to the time it takes to refuel a petrol or diesel car) could mark a tipping point for consumer interest. Another may be when ongoing innovation in battery technologies allows for a range similar to what is currently available from a tank of petrol or diesel.

Such technological development and deployment could also change the way consumers charge their vehicles, moving to centralised and co-located fast charging alongside or instead of slow charging. This could allow infrastructure investment to be better targeted. Centralising or co-locating the charging infrastructure with generation and storage can alleviate the pressure on local domestic low voltage networks.

Here at V2G UK we agree that “faster and faster charging rates” along major trunk routes are highly desirable, but we also believe that there is a place for the sort of technology summarised in the “artist’s impression” in our banner above. Alleviating the pressure on local domestic low voltage networks through the use of distributed generation and storage co-located with what BEAMA refers to as “slow charging rates”. Having renewable generation and energy storage located at your home or small business provides advantages that having similar, albeit larger and faster, facilities located on the nearest Shell forecourt does not! Particularly if you’re intent on the electrification of heating as well as transport, a topic which BEAMA also discuss at length in their new report.

As you have hopefully gathered by now, realising that vision will require a radical change to the UK’s energy markets, possibly even going beyond the significant changes recommended by BEAMA.

Storm Caroline Power Cuts

Yesterday the UK Met Office issued an amber warning for strong winds caused by Caroline, the third named storm of the winter in this part of the world:

With up to 90 mph gusts expected in the north of Scotland the Met Office pointed out that:

Flying debris is likely and could lead to injuries or danger to life. Some damage to buildings is possible, such as tiles blowing off roofs. Longer journey times and cancellations are likely, as road, rail, air and ferry services may be affected. There is a good chance that power cuts may also occur. Large waves are expected and beach material may be thrown onto coastal roads, sea fronts and properties.

Sticking with those power cuts for the moment, here are the lunchtime maps from the assorted Distribution Network Operators spread across the west and north of the British Isles:




Scottish and Southern Energy Networks:

Scottish Power Energy Networks don’t provide an overview map of the area covered by their network, but they do issue severe weather updates from time to time. Today’s currently states that:

The MET Office has issued a yellow/amber warnings for Thursday 7th December 2017 to much of Scotland. Storm Caroline is expected to bring a spell of very windy weather reaching up to speeds of 80mph over the higher grounds.

Moving into Friday 8th and Saturday 9th, the yellow Met Office warning is still in place and it now covers Scotland, North Wales and Northwest Midlands. The yellow warning continues to bring strong winds but also frequent snow showers of 2-5cm, with 10-20cm in some places.

Icy surfaces are also likely to be an additional hazard, especially overnight. The heaviest and most frequent snow showers will progressively become confined to northeast Scotland during Saturday.

We have not yet seen any impact of Storm Caroline on our Network and as such we are presently working as business as usual, however, we will continue to monitor the weather situation closely.

Scottish and Southern do however provide timely news updates. The lunchtime edition reports that:

As forecast, gale-force winds reached the Western Isles from the early hours of this morning, with wind gusts in excess of 85mph recorded. SSEN’s network has stood up well to the initial impact and power has been safely restored to over 3,900 customers, mainly on the Western Isles and north-west Highlands, with around 780 homes currently without power as of 12pm today.

The full impact of Storm Caroline has not yet been felt across much of SSEN’s network region and it is expected there will be further faults throughout the day as the weather front continues to track across the north Highlands, into the Moray Firth and up to Orkney. Winds are expected to peak between midday and 6pm this evening with gusts of 70 -95mph forecast. Shetland is expected to feel the full force of Storm Caroline from midnight tonight through to lunchtime on Friday.

With snow and falling temperatures forecast for Friday, there is also a risk of line icing, where snow accumulates and freezes on the overhead electricity network, which can result in damage due to the sheer weight of accumulated snow and ice. Infrequent lightning also remains a risk.


[Edit – December 7th 18:00]

Firstly here are the tea time power cut maps:





SPEN still haven’t updated their “Severe weather update” from yesterday.

SSEN have issued a 4 PM update, which reads as follows:


As forecast, gale-force winds have tracked slowly across SSEN’s network region, starting in the Western Isles in the early hours of the morning with the storm moving from west to east throughout the day. Wind gusts of 95mph have been recorded at Burgar Hill in Orkney, with widespread gusts in excess of 80mph observed across the north of Scotland.

SSEN’s network continues to stand up well to the impact of Storm Caroline and power has been safely restored to over 11,500 customers. The main areas affected have been the Western Isles, north-west Highlands, Caithness, Moray, north-east Aberdeenshire, Orkney and Shetland.

As of 4pm, around 4,600 homes remain without power, mainly in Caithness, Orkney and Shetland. All faults are resourced with teams working to restore power, where it is safe to do so.

Wind speeds are forecast to subside for most parts from around 6pm this evening, with the exception of Shetland which is expected to continue to feel the effects of Storm Caroline through to tomorrow morning.

With snow and falling temperatures forecast for Friday, SSEN will remain on Yellow Alert due to the risk of line icing, where snow accumulates and freezes on the overhead electricity network, which can result in damage due to the sheer weight of accumulated snow and ice. A risk of lightning also remains.

Whilst the far north of Scotland may be experiencing very strong winds, further south wind turbines across the nation will be spinning furiously, so lets now take a look at the mix of UK electricity generation at the moment, courtesy of Gridwatch:


We’re currently experiencing the usual early evening peak in demand and we’re also experiencing a bit of a cold snap at the moment:

Hence there’s also an “amber warning” for electricity demand this evening, with wind contributing almost 9 GW of the required 47.17 GW. Here’s how that looks expressed as UK plc’s “Carbon intensity“:



[Edit – December 7th 22:30]

Our suite of power cut maps reveal that the worst effects of Storm Caroline are now confined to the far north east of Scotland, including Orkney and Shetland:





Scottish and Southern have issued another updates:


From the early hours of this morning, gale-force winds have battered the north of Scotland, tracking slowly across SSEN’s network region from west to east throughout the course of the day. Over the last few hours, Shetland has borne the brunt of Storm Caroline, with wind gusts of over 100mph recorded at Gremista.

Power has been safely restored to over 13,000 customers across SSEN’s network, the main areas affected being the Western Isles, north-west Highlands, Caithness, Moray, north-east Aberdeenshire, Orkney and Shetland. With wind speeds now starting to subside for most areas it is anticipated the vast majority of customers will be restored this evening. As of 7pm, there are currently 3,000 customers still off supply, 1,300 of which are in Shetland.

Due to the continued severity of the wind speeds experienced in Shetland, which are forecast to continue through to tomorrow morning, and access issues affecting a small number of customers on Orkney, it is likely that some homes will remain off supply overnight. SSEN’s teams remain on standby and will carry out repairs as soon as it is safe to do so.

As the evening has progressed UK electricity demand has dropped as forecast, and the generation mix now looks like this:



[Edit – December 8th 07:00]

There’s still a wind warning in place for the Northern Isles:

Consequently Scottish and Southern’s map of power cuts in the area still looks like this at the moment:


Scottish and Southern issued a further update on Storm Caroline late last night:

Following the impact of Storm Caroline, which has seen prolonged gale force winds affecting many areas across the north of Scotland, SSEN has now successfully reconnected the vast majority of homes affected, with power safely restored to over 14,000 customers. The main areas affected have been the Western Isles, north-west Highlands, Caithness, Moray, north-east Aberdeenshire, Orkney and Shetland.

Due to the persistent and severe nature of wind speeds still being felt across parts of Caithness, Orkney and Shetland, coupled with difficulty gaining access to faults, as of 10pm this evening SSEN has taken the decision to stand down its field based teams in these locations for safety reasons and around 500 customers will remain off supply overnight.

Here’s the UK’s generation mix this morning:


and here’s the final UK plc carbon intensity graph for yesterday:


plus today’s thus far:



[Edit – December 8th 15:00]

Scottish and Southern’s map of power cuts still shows several outages this afternoon:


In their latest bulletin they say that:

SSEN’s teams continue to make good progress to restore power to the last remaining customers affected by the impact of Storm Caroline, which brought sustained gale force winds to many areas across the north of Scotland. Throughout the course of the event, SSEN has successfully reconnected power to over 18,000 homes. The main areas affected have been the Western Isles, north-west Highlands, Caithness, Moray, north-east Aberdeenshire, Orkney and Shetland.

As of 2.30pm, just 250 homes remain off supply, with the main areas still affected being Orkney and Shetland. All faults have been resourced and SSEN anticipates all homes will have power restored by this evening.

To support efforts to restore power to those homes who remained off supply overnight, SSEN has moved additional teams to the areas affected and is also working closely with its resilience partners to help overcome challenges with gaining access to faults as a result of cancellations to local ferry services and road closures due to snow. This includes working in coordination with the RNLI, who are providing a helicopter to get additional teams and resource to South Ronaldsay, Orkney.

Here’s the current generation mix:



[Edit – December 8th 18:15]

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks say they:

Have now returned to business as usual but we will continue to monitor conditions and are well prepared to respond to whatever other challenges the Scottish weather has in store for us this winter.

Their current power cut map confirms that:


Much like yesterday, this evening’s demand is back up in the amber zone:



[Edit – December 9th]

Here is the final UK plc carbon intensity graph for yesterday:


Honda Research V2G Technology in Europe

Honda have just announced in a press release that:

Honda has invested in advanced bi-directional charging technology at its European R&D site in Offenbach, Germany, which is helping to balance demand and store energy more efficiently across the facility. The new charging system incorporates renewable energy generation, and is a test bed for hardware that will be available to private households in the future.

The technology installation in Germany follows the debut of the domestic Honda Power Manager Concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show in September. The concept previewed a fully-integrated energy transfer, which takes power from the grid and can return stored energy from electric vehicle (EV) batteries – through ‘Vehicle-to-Grid’ or ‘V2G’ technology. This latest trial installation at Honda’s Offenbach site applies the same principles on a larger scale.

Here’s how Honda’s new bi-directional V2G capable charging station looks, albeit not in situ in Offenbach by the looks of it!

Honda installs new bi-directional charging technology at European R&D centre

Honda installs new bi-directional charging technology at European R&D centre

According to Jörg Böttcher, Vice President of Honda R&D Europe:

With the installation of the latest bi-directional charging technology at our R&D site in Germany, we are adding the next technology to our Smart Company project, which will further enhance our research activity in the field of zero-emission society and future mobility.

Here at V2G UK we have come to associate the word “Honda” with “hydrogen“, although Honda did take part in a V2G trial in the United States back in 2013. Here in Europe in 2017 they point out that:

With the help of the bi-directional hardware and with the technology of The Mobility House, Honda aims to optimise energy management at its European R&D campus, maximising the use of renewable solar power in particular. The project is testing the interaction, compatibility and power flow between specific electrical components, including the renewable energy cells and the EV batteries. The installation represents a collaboration between Honda R&D Europe, energy service provider The Mobility House and Swiss technology company EVTEC.

The investment in the bi-directional energy transfer technology further enhances the world’s most advanced public charging station for plug-in vehicles, which was launched at Honda R&D Europe in summer 2017. Its state-of-the-art 940V capability can deliver up to 150kW of energy, enabling as many as four vehicles to charge simultaneously with different types of connectors. Since its installation in June, the EV charging station has supplied power for 447 charge sessions and has saved 3.87 tonnes of CO2.

Here’s a video from The Mobility House explaining their vision of a future “V2G enabled” world:

There’s more information on that topic in a press release from EVTEC which doesn’t seem to be available online at the moment. In slightly stilted English the Swiss company explain that:

With the growing importance of electric mobility, the two worlds of energy and mobility are merging. The closer this connection becomes, the more importance gain intelligent technologies that ensure this development secures a sustainable future. Such a technology is Vehicle-to-Grid, in short “V2G”. What is behind this term, is the intelligent integration of electric vehicles in the energy system and markets.

This advantage is well known to Honda, where the V2G technology is already in use today: with the help of a bidirectional charging solution, the company aims to optimize energy management at its European R & D campus in Offenbach. Within the framework of a comprehensive project over the last 12 month, the interaction of various energy components – from vehicle battery to photovoltaic system – is being tested here.

According to EVTEC co-founder and CEO Markus Kramis:

A reliable, precise, and fast acting bi-directional charger is the necessary base for every V2G application, like peak shaving and energy optimization.

All in all that EVTEC charging station sounds like just the sort of thing we need to try out at V2G Towers over here in North Cornwall, located in a distant corner of sunny South West England amongst an impressive array of large scale solar PV and onshore wind “farms”!

The same may well apply to Honda’s Power Manager mentioned above, which was announced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. According to a Honda press release once again:

Its all-new Power Manager Concept, a fully-integrated energy transfer system, is designed to incorporate electric vehicles into a smart power grid. It enables the collection and distribution of electricity between the grid, homes and businesses and electric vehicles, to intelligently balance demand and efficient storage of energy. Honda will apply its Power Manager technology as part of a smart grid pilot scheme in the west of France.


Power Manager Concept works by aggregating and distributing energy to and from the grid, solar panel-equipped homes or workplaces, and electric vehicles.

Electricity is received into the system from the grid or is generated by the solar panels and can be used to power and heat the building as well as to charge the EV. While the EV is plugged in, the energy can be stored and used at home or sold back to the grid, potentially generating value for EV owners.

The Power Manager Concept system can help to stabilise the grid at times of either short or surplus supply, as well as representing a revenue opportunity for EV owners.

That sounds like just the sort of thing that Western Power Distribution needs to help stabilise the electricity distribution grid in our neck of the woods, which is currently heavily “constrained”:


Do you suppose that we could possibly persuade Honda to apply its Power Manager technology as part of a smart grid pilot scheme here in the south west of England too?

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! When will those plans extend as far as South West England though, if ever?

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.