By recharging when demand is low and putting energy into the grid when it is high, V2G helps manage the peaks and troughs, balance the network and make it more efficient.
The Bus2Grid project will be led by SSE Enterprise, a division of the electricity supplier, in partnership with the Mayor of London, Transport for London (TfL) and Go-Ahead London.
The initial trial will use the batteries of 28 state-of-the-art double decker buses, capable of returning over 1MW energy to the grid.
Bus2Grid will explore both the commercial value and social benefits to the energy and passenger transportation systems by developing services for the national grid, regional distribution network operators, bus operators and transport authorities. The development and test of the underpinning technology is also an important objective of the trial.
Niall Riddell, Smart Systems Innovation Sector Director for SSE Enterprise, said: “Central to the challenge of decarbonising our transport and achieving climate change targets is how we can optimise the existing flexibility within the energy system. Developing a charging infrastructure that operates in two directions so that batteries can give back as well as take from the grid is an important part of this.
Go Ahead London was chosen by TfL to run the first electric buses in London back in 2013. It has now grown its fleet to 240 – making it the largest e-bus operator in Britain.
UK Power Networks forecasts there will be more than 3.6m electric vehicles connected to its network by 2030, an increase of more than 3.5m on the 95,000 vehicles currently in its region, creating significant additional demand on the energy system. The options are either to spend customers’ money on building new infrastructure to meet this increasing demand, or to charge in a smarter way to avoid it.
Ian Cameron, head of innovation at UK Power Networks, said: “A fleet of bus batteries harnesses large amounts of electricity and they are habitual, with regular and predictable routes, driving patterns and timings. That means we can easily predict and plan for how we can use any spare electrical capacity they can offer. For example, we could use them as energy storage devices that could add capacity and help us to increase the volume of renewable energy exported onto the network when supply might otherwise be exceeding demand.”
The three-year trial is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) with the support of Innovate UK. The Bus2Grid project is being led by SSE Enterprise and supported by a partnership including bus manufacturer Build Your Dreams/Alexander Dennis Limited (BYDADL), TfL, bus operator Go Ahead Group, electricity distribution network UK Power Networks, Leeds University and Scotland based Alexander Dennis with aggregation of the buses supported by Origami.