UK’s first smart-grid trial launched

In a UK first, UK Power Networks (UKPN) has launched an electric vehicle (EV) smart charging marketplace trial.

Announced on 18 July, Shift will see up to 1,000 EV owners offered financial incentives to charge their vehicles off peak. The trial is aiming to develop a large-scale, smart charging solution that can be rolled out nationwide by flexibility services providers. UKPN will work together with Octopus Energy, Kaluza and Pod Point to explore different business models and market mechanisms in order to deliver benefits from smart charging.

Kaluza is set to deliver flexibility across 300 charge points by combining real-time pricing signals from UKPN with time-of-use data. If charging is initiated when energy demand is low, the platform is able to create flexibility for grid operators.

Ian Cameron, Head of Innovation at UKPN, said: “There has been a lot of talk about how smart charging could save customers money and help manage the network, but this is the first time we’ve actually set out to discover how.”

Conor Maher-McWilliams, Head of Flexibility at Kaluza, said: “The boom in electric cars will create a whole new layer of grid complexity, so taking intelligent control of charging will be vital. Technology that joins the dots between home devices and the local grid paves the way for an agile, zero carbon energy system that works for everyone.”