Smart EV charging ‘could have helped save £133m in power grid costs during pandemic lockdown’

That’s the suggestion from the Flexibility First Forum, which includes organisations from across the cleantech industry such as Kaluza, Octopus Energy, Centrica, E.ON, Moixa and the Solar Trade Association

Smart electric vehicle (EV) charging and other intelligent energy systems could have saved as much as £133 million in electricity grid costs during the coronavirus lockdown period if they were more widely adopted.

That’s the suggestion from the Flexibility First Forum, which includes organisations from across the cleantech industry such as Kaluza, Octopus Energy, Centrica, E.ON, Moixa and the Solar Trade Association – the group has written to Ofgem to highlight the benefits that could be unlocked across the UK by a more intelligent energy system.

Abundant renewable generation and record low energy demand created balancing challenges during the lockdown, leading to National Grid increasing balancing costs by £500 million this summer – these extra charges will ultimately be paid by consumers as part of their energy bills.

This is largely a result of legacy solutions currently being required to balance the grid, such as paying renewable generation to switch off when it is not needed – the Flexibility First Forum advises technologies such as EVs, smart electric heaters and home solar batteries are able to intelligently use power during periods of low demand and could be helping to create a more resilient, lower-cost system.

The cleantech businesses and organisations behind the letter say six million electric vehicles could have provided the grid with an extra 3.6TWh of energy, saving up to £133 million, which would equate to a 27% reduction in balancing costs for National Grid and a subsequent bill saving of £4.82 for each UK household.

Greg Jackson, Founder and CEO of Octopus Energy, said: “The bank holiday weekends have been a wake-up call. With a flexible, digital grid, cheap renewable power would have saved households money.

“Without it, they will be forced to pay billions in infrastructure upgrades and compensation payments. We need to fix this, fast.”

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