V2G can accelerate decarbonisation progress in the UK

Adopting vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology can drive decarbonisation, deliver substantial carbon savings and bring significant economic benefits, according to a report.

On 7 January, Nissan, E.ON Drive and Imperial College London published a paper, The Drive Towards a Low-Carbon Grid, exploring the opportunities and challenges of V2G fleets in Britain. It found system operation costs could be reduced by around £12,000 per year, per vehicle, through V2G, with CO2 savings of 60 tonnes, while for fleets, the annual V2G charging benefits were found to range from £700-£1,250 per vehicle.

Looking longer-term, the report assessed a back-to-base fleet of 1mn commercial electric vehicles (EVs) operating under three different charging scenarios: unmanaged, smart and V2G. V2G charging was found to unlock whole system cost savings between £412mn-883mn a year, whereas in contrast, unmanaged and smart charging scenarios delivered increased system costs of £567mn-773mn and £102-150mn a year respectively.

V2G-enabled fleets were also found to have a considerable negative carbon impact, with emissions of fleet EVs with V2G potentially as low as -243gCO2/km. This would allow for lower volumes of low carbon generation capacity to be installed while still meeting current system-level decarbonisation targets.

To realise V2G’s potential to add “huge value” to the UK’s power system, while supporting a cost-effective low carbon transition, the report made a series of recommendations, including a call for a holistic approach to transport and energy policy, ensuring the whole-system benefits created by V2G find their way back to providers of V2G flexibility.

It also called for future changes to OFGEM network charges to consider likely V2G use cases; ancillary and flexibility services to be designed with participation from small-scale EV fleets in mind; for government to prioritise V2G charging infrastructure when developing EV charging regulations; and for greater financial support to be offered towards the up-front cost of purchasing and installing V2G chargers.