UK Power Networks study uncovers car park potential

Using vehicles in long-star car parks to power homes with green energy has been revealed as one result of the UK Power Networks’ new Park and Flex study.

Research discovered that 1.3m homes could be powered by filling electric car batteries in long-stay car parks when energy is cheap and demand is low, such as sunny days or windy nights, and then injecting that power back into the grid during peak times.

It is estimated £1.3 billion in flexible energy savings could be made by 2050 if rolled out across the 140,000 long-stay parking spaces in the areas UK Power Networks serves in the south and east of England.

The potential of 4.3GW of flexible electricity demand could play a major role in helping London, the East and South East of England, efficiently transition to a low carbon economy, it said.

The study used advanced modelling alongside both UK Power Networks’ and energy specialist Baringa’s forecasts for the number of electric vehicles on Britain’s roads in the coming years. Long-stay car parks such as airports were shown to offer increased benefits over shorter term solutions such as hotels or supermarket car parks, with a customer’s flight dates dictating the precise length of a vehicle’s stay. As the study continues, it will seek to understand how the new vision could be rolled out nationally and identify the customer incentives needed to make it happen.

Director of customer service and innovation at UK Power Networks Ian Cameron said: “As more and more people begin to adopt green technologies, we’re able to innovate and explore tangible scenarios that could make a real difference on the path to Net Zero.

“Through Park and Flex, we foresee a world where dormant vehicles can be used as the building blocks for one of the UK’s biggest flex batteries. This dynamic battery, fuelled by thousands upon thousands of electric vehicles could play a massive role in creating a new green energy supply, and could do so without customers having to lift a finger.”

Tony Posawatz, CEO of Fermata Energy said: “With ramping sales of electric vehicles, gigawatts of energy storage capacity can be accessed with bi-directional (V2G) charging to support UK distribution networks during peak events. 

“Airports have enormous public car parks and large electrical systems throughout. With thousands of vehicles parked for hours to days at a time, enormous value can be unlocked in key grid locations providing resilience and stability, while lowering costs. This first-of-its kind Park and Flex study will demonstrate the scalable benefits of V2G technology in public car parks for grid networks and consumers alike.”

Image courtesy of UK Power Networks

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