EV trial reveals how to balance energy demand

A UK-first EV trial by UK Power Networks, Octopus Energy and ev.energy is aiming to show consumers hold the key to balancing energy supply and demand.

The Shift 2.0 trial is testing how dynamic prices influence smart charging, enabling electric vehicle drivers to maximise their use of cheap green energy without overloading local electricity networks. 

The trial is already underway and involves more than 1,500 EVs responding to dynamic network price signals to help manage demand on the electricity network, and shift energy usage out of peak times.

In early April this year, the trial showed that EVs on Intelligent Octopus Go, Octopus Energy’s smart tariff, started charging in the early evening during low wholesale electricity prices caused by an increased supply of wind energy. Early evenings are typically when local electricity networks are already most highly used.

During the trial, UK Power Networks sends a ‘day-ahead’ time-of-use price signal to Octopus Energy and ev.energy who combine this with the wholesale price of electricity and other information to schedule EV charging in line with the availability of cheap power and network capacity. The project is due to complete by September 2024.

Alex Howard, head of flexibility markets at UK Power Networks said:

“We’re already harnessing the flexibility of electric vehicles to keep the cost of the network down. But as renewable power grows and vehicle charging is increasingly automated, we need to stay one step ahead.

“The findings of this collaboration will be important in showing how flexibility can evolve to deliver sustainable value to local and national energy systems.”

Alex Schoch, head of flexibility at Octopus Energy said: “We’re seeing a paradigm shift in global energy – moving from dumb systems to smart ones that dynamically manage energy demand and supply. Charging EVs when green energy is abundant isn’t just good for the planet and boosts renewables, it can also put millions of pounds back into people’s pockets.

“We’re still at the beginning of this new energy era, and we’re excited to get involved with Shift 2.0 to show how gigantic the benefits of flexibly managing energy demand will be.”

Nick Woolley, CEO of ev.energy said: 

“Everyone deserves a clean, affordable, and reliable energy system, and that’s what this trial is all about. Building on GB’s world-leading use of demand flexibility to solve grid challenges, ev.energy is thrilled to be part of the next stage in local flex’s evolution.

“Our goal is to enable all EV drivers to contribute to smoother power system operation and reward them for their participation. As an equipment and energy company agnostic platform and working with our partners, ev.energy is committed to providing every EV driver the opportunity to benefit from a clean and dynamic energy system.”

Image from Shutterstock

Sign up for our essential
newsletter service.

Enter your details here.