Smart charging could have saved millions in grid balancing costs during lockdown

The UK could have saved up to £133mn in grid balancing costs during lockdown, if electric vehicle (EV) charging and smart tech adoption had been more widespread, according to a group of cleantech companies.

On 10 June, Curent News reported that the Flexibility First Forum – consisting of the likes of Kaluza, Octopus Energy, Centrica, E.On, Moixa and the Solar Trade Association – had written to Ofgem, detailing how a system where flexible storage capacity from 6mn EVs can provide 3.6TWh of energy could have saved up to £133mn. The group stressed the savings calculated are “not possible today” due to a lack of EVs and limited opportunities for residential flexibility in national and local ancillary service markets. A lack of market wide half-hourly settlements was also given as a reason, as it would have incentivised stakeholders to better utilise flexibility as a balancing resource.

The companies explained that EVs could support the grid through smart charging, taking electricity during periods of low demand and carbon intensity, leading to a “more resilient, lower cost system”. 

Jorge Pikunic, Managing Director of Centrica Business Solutions, said: “The solution to balancing the system of the future does not lie in curtailing renewables or indeed spending billions building out more central power generation as back up. Instead, we should treat renewable energy like a precious resource and encourage the use of flexible technologies such as Demand Side Response and storage, as this will allow us to optimally use this green energy, at the lowest cost to consumers.”

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