“Octopus Electric Vehicles are absolutely delighted to be sponsoring this year’s Sustainability Festival. Helping communities understand the importance of sustainable living is something that we are passionate about.

Electric vehicles are a key part of the UK delivering on its ambitious climate goals. Through our Powerloop* project, for example, we’re looking at innovative ways to help decentralise and decarbonise the grid, bringing benefits on both a national and local scale.

Claire Miller
Octopus Electric Vehicles

Claire Miller, Director of Technology & Innovation at our Sustainability Festival Community Sponsor, Octopus Electric Vehicles, introduces this blog which explains how their technology, known as Powerloop, is revolutionising the future of energy as we know it.

Many St Albans District residents now have electric cars, and the sight of a charging car outside people’s homes is becoming a normality. Now, the next stage of this technology is coming round the corner: Vehicle to Grid.

“When we talk about the grid, we mean the electricity network that is all around us”

Albena Ivanova
Electric Vehicles

Albena Ivanova, Powerloop Project Manager, explains:

“Vehicle to Grid (V2G), in its simplest terms, is using the vehicle’s battery to power something else, in this case, the grid. When we talk about the grid, we mean the electricity network that is all around us. The physical cables that connect energy suppliers (generators) to consumers. As an electric vehicle (EV) owner doing V2G you have the ability to be both the generator and the consumer. This is all thanks to the battery – because as an energy asset, it can both charge and discharge.

With V2G – you are the generator and the consumer

As an energy asset, your EV battery is extremely valuable. It can charge and discharge super fast, can be controlled remotely, it is durable, and as explained above, it can provide a bi-directional flow of energy – charging and discharging.

In comparison, most other energy devices (think about your kettle or oven) only consume – they can never generate energy because they can’t store it and also because their connection is unidirectional – in other words, it goes one way, from the grid to the device, never back.

“the times when we generate electricity don’t always match when we want to consume that energy”

As we move to an increasingly green energy system – powered by renewable energy (which accounted for 42% of electricity generated in the UK in 2020, overtaking fossil fuels) – the times we generate electricity might not always match when we want to consume that energy. For example, it can often be windy in the middle of the night, and our wind turbines generate electricity when we are sleeping and have no immediate use for it. In fact, occasionally, we pay wind turbines to stop generating because we don’t have the need for the extra electricity.

In addition, as we see an increase in electric vehicles on our roads, the local grid could become congested and may require additional spend to upgrade it for an electrified UK. 2020 saw a 185.9% growth in battery electric vehicle registrations compared to 2019, and with the UK Government announcing the ban of all new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, this uptake is only going to accelerate.

With clever tech, we are starting to see dynamic energy tariffs that reflect the true cost of energy generation which encourages users to shift their demand and change their behaviour. Smart charging being a prime example, incentivising EV drivers to charge their vehicles overnight when renewables are abundant and prices are low, rather than during the evening peak.

“…charging up when demand is low (e.g. when we sleep) – discharging when demand is high”

With V2G, it goes a step further – we start having the ability to store the inexpensive green energy, charging up when demand is low (for example, when we sleep). It then can be shared back to the energy system, supplying your home and your neighbours, during expensive peak hours – discharging when demand is high. This creates a smart energy system.

“Industry experts have estimated that a smart energy system can save the UK up to 40bn by 2050”

Get involved

Albena continues:

“At Octopus Electric Vehicles – in partnership with the Energy Saving TrustUK Power NetworksENGIE EV SolutionsOpen EnergiGuidehouse and our sister company Octopus Energy, we are creating our own version – Powerloop*.

With Powerloop, we are installing the lightest, smallest domestic V2G chargers in the world provided by Wallbox. Alongside this, we are developing tech to help this to become a scalable proposition that can help energy systems worldwide run smoothly on renewable energy.

We are currently accepting another 10 applications to join us on our Powerloop journey as we start to demonstrate this technology in action. We provide you with everything you need as part of your bundle – including a Nissan LEAF and a Wallbox V2G charger.

We also recognise that making your EV battery an active energy asset in the grid is extremely valuable. So we will not only give you the tools to do it, provide amazing customer service and transparency throughout, and help you get everything set up – we will also pay you up to £30/month** for making your car battery available at the times the energy system needs it most! This is V2G in action, this is Powerloop.”

Book on a workshop to learn more

Octopus are running free virtual workshops with their EV Experts to help you understand more about the future of energy and how Powerloop fits into this. For more information book a virtual workshop via Eventbrite. To find out the full details of a Powerloop bundle, eligibility and terms & conditions, please visit the Powerloop page on the Octopus EV website.

*Powerloop is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV), with Innovate UK acting as delivery partner.

** £30 cashback is credited in the form of Octopus Energy credit onto your account if 12 full cycles are completed in a month (plug in before 6pm, and stay plugged in until at least 5am the next day to complete one cycle). Subject to suitability, availability and credit approval.

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