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Could EVs help customers during power cuts?

The use of electric vehicles (EVs) to keep lighting and heating running during a power cut in the homes of  customers in vulnerable situations is to be explored by our Innovation Team.

Following a successful research funding bid, they will embark on a project to look at the potential of using electricity stored in EV batteries to provide supplies during an outage.

The team will examine if this can be done via an app, while also looking at the benefits and drawbacks of using EVs during power cuts compared to diesel generators.

“EV Respond” is one of five National Grid Electricity Distribution (NGED) projects collectively awarded £500,000 from Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), which aims to support the development of a net zero energy system while benefiting customers.

The other four projects will investigate:

  • the impact of thermal energy efficiency on network loads
  • the use of digital solutions to support regional network planning
  • flexibility opportunities across different utilities
  • the role of digital technologies in developing a local smart energy system

Ofgem’s announcement means each project will move into a “discovery phase”.

Innovation Team Manager Jenny Woodruff said: “We are thrilled all our project applications were approved as this is our first experience of SIF. We are eager to crack on with the projects that are very diverse and between them cover a wide range of ways that we can help reach net zero. We are also excited to be working with new project partners which often brings new insights.

“The discovery phase will allow us to test key assumptions and carry out the early work necessary to firm up our plans for the alpha and beta SIF phases where we can develop the initial ideas into prototypes and full-scale trials.”

NGED will also be collaborating on a further four SIF projects – two with Wales and West Utilities and two with the National Grid Electricity System Operator.

The projects are funded by energy network users and consumers through the Ofgem scheme, which is managed in partnership with Innovate UK.

Funding worth £400,000 was also awarded to National Grid Electricity Transmission for three projects to help develop a net zero electricity network.

They will look into investigating technology to increase power flow capability on existing overhead lines; the development of a long-term strategy to remove electrical insulating gas sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) from the network, and an assessment of whole energy system resilience.

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  • Innovation