Biggest ever mobilization of UK customers supported the grid during expected supply crunch

05 November 2020

  • As National Grid issued an alert warning on Tuesday evening of a supply crunch on the electricity grid, OVO Energy members and their Vehicle-to-Grid chargers powered the grid on Wednesday by exporting the energy from their EVs.
  • Analysis shows that if the UK’s current fleet of 164,000 EVs was V2G-enabled, as much as 200 MW of power could be provided to the grid, equivalent to 100 wind turbines and enough to power 100,000 homes. By 2030, with millions more EVs on the road, it could reach 5GW.
  • OVO Energy is currently running the world’s first and largest residential V2G programme in hundreds of homes across the UK.

Thursday 5th November 2020: OVO Energy members and their V2G-connected EVs powered the grid and helped keep the lights on yesterday afternoon.

On Tuesday evening, the National Grid issued a “margin notice”, a serious security of supply alert, warning of a capacity crunch between 4:30pm and 6:30pm on Wednesday. It said it was forecasting tight margins on the electricity system due to “low renewable output and the availability of generators over periods of the day with higher demand.” OVO Energy called upon its V2G members to keep their chargers plugged in and help supply the grid with electricity stored in their EV batteries.

OVO is currently running the world’s first and largest residential V2G programme in hundreds of homes across the UK. V2G charging enables an EV to charge its battery on clean electrons, store the energy and then feed it back into the grid. By connecting the V2Gs to Kaluza’s data-enabled cloud platform, the devices are intelligently optimised to create a virtual power plant, with the ability to import power when green generation is in abundance and export it back to the grid when demand increases.

New modelling based on data from OVO’s V2G fleet shows that if the 164,000 EVs on Britain’s roads today were V2G-enabled, they could produce daily flexible capacity to boost enough supply to power 100,000 homes and support the grid at times of tight energy supply margins.

And in the future, if just half of all EVs were V2G-enabled by 2030 (~5.5million) this would provide at least 5GW of export capacity - estimated to be enough to meet approximately 77% of all annual system balancing needs including instances of tight energy supply margins.

The data from between July and September 2020, comes from Kaluza, the real-time cloud platform powering OVO Energy’s V2G programme. It shows that a customer's V2G charger is on average exporting 7 kWh each day, enough to power a small home, and importing 11 kWh.

As the V2Gs can charge up overnight when demand is low and later sell energy at a higher price, customers have shown to save as much as £800 per year. OVO and Imperial College London research has previously shown how V2G could save a renewable grid £3.5bn per year by offering flexibility at peak times instead of investment in unnecessary infrastructure.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO and Founder of OVO said:

“A resilient and decarbonised grid of the future hinges on our ability to manage increasing supply volatility. Kaluza is standing by to orchestrate a response, powering the grid when the UK needs it most. In the future, millions more customers and their EVs can support the transition to zero carbon grids all over the world, whilst earning revenue from selling power back to the grid at peak times.”

Kaluza is an intelligent energy platform able to connect and manage the charging of millions of smart home devices using artificial intelligence. Working together with OVO Smart Home, Kaluza are able to offer and optimise a range of EV and heating products that charge when energy demand, prices and carbon intensity are low. This unique offering allows OVO Energy to reduce consumers’ energy bills and their carbon emissions while helping support the grid with balancing. The value of this proposition was most recently recognised through winning the “Best Consumer Proposition (Utility/Energy)” award at the EVies and was created in partnership with Innovate UK as part of the Vehicle-to-Grid competition, announced in January 2018.


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About OVO Energy

OVO Energy was founded in 2009 and redesigned the energy experience to be fair, effortless, green and simple for all customers. Today OVO Energy and its Retail partners serve nearly 5 million customers, all striving to deliver more affordable clean energy for everyone. OVO is on a mission through its sustainability strategy Plan Zero to tackle the most important issue of our time; the climate crisis, by bringing our customers with us on the journey towards zero carbon living. OVO Energy has committed to being a net zero carbon business and achieve bold science-based carbon reduction targets by 2030, while helping members halve their carbon footprint at the same time.

About Kaluza

Kaluza, an OVO company, is the leading intelligent energy platform powering the future of energy. From revolutionising billing to smart electric vehicle charging, Kaluza’s technology is empowering some of the biggest energy suppliers to better serve millions of customers. Its real-time cloud platforms transform supplier operations, reducing cost to serve and boosting customer engagement. Powered by Kaluza, suppliers can invest in innovating for tomorrow’s customers and drive decarbonisation with smart, low carbon technologies that not only reduce energy bills, but lay the foundations for a more flexible energy system.

OVO’s analysis July - September 2020

  • From OVO’s V2G trial, the average car plugs in with a battery that is 43% full.
  • To date, each V2G in the OVO portfolio has exported an average 6.7 kWh to the grid, while importing an average 11.3 kWh each day
  • This gives one car with V2G a balancing capacity per day of roughly 13.5 kWh
  • OVO’s data shows that on average 36% of EVs are plugged in and available at all times to either import or export power to the grid. However due to driver habits impacting the battery state of charge across the day, the capacity is more available for balancing at peak times and overnight, and less available during the day.
  • By scaling up the balancing capacity of each EV to 5.5m V2G capable EVs, and adjusting for availability across the day, OVO’s model calculates that the fleet could provide 8.6 TWh of balancing over the year, meeting 77% of the grid’s needs.