London depot to become ‘virtual power station’
Go-Ahead London’s Northumberland Park bus garage is set to become a ‘virtual power station’, generating electricity from buses when not in use. The project, called Bus2Grid, is believed to be the world’s largest vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial site.
With almost 100 electric buses based on-site, it is one of the biggest electric bus facilities in Europe.
V2G technology enables energy stored in an electric vehicle’s battery to be fed back into the electricity network. 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.
If the entire London bus fleet of around 9,000 vehicles were to be converted with the technology being used in the Bus2Grid project, it could theoretically provide enough energy to supply more than 150,000 homes.
The Bus2Grid project will be led by SSE Enterprise in partnership with the Mayor of London, TfL and Go-Ahead London. The initial trial will use the batteries of 28 double deckers, 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.
Frank Thorpe, Managing Director of BYD UK, said: “This is a significant step for the BYD ADL Partnership, already the market leader in electric buses on British roads. Exploiting the potential of electric buses to act as ‘mobile power stations’ will be critical to the efficient running of the grid once electric vehicles of all types become commonplace.”
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: “We believe buses have a big part to play in rolling out low emission vehicles. They offer huge opportunities to contribute towards the drive to improve London’s air quality.
“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 (BYD/ADL), TfL, Go-Ahead Group, electricity distribution network UK Power Networks, Leeds University and Scotland based ADL with aggregation of the buses supported by Origami.
- More on Bus 2 Grid is available here.