EV does it: Northern EV owners take part in grid balancing

  • Octopus Energy and Northern Powergrid team up for demand response rollout
  • Customers with EVs in the Northern Powergrid service area to help balance the grid and benefit renewables
  • Octopus’ EV tariff users already form the UK’s largest virtual power plant

Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for Northern electricity distribution network, has teamed up with energy and technology company Octopus Energy to provide household flexibility across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire through electric vehicle (EV) charging and storage.

Northern Powergrid powers everyday life for 8 million customers, and will be enabling those with EVs to support the transition to net zero through ‘demand response’.

Demand response allows participating customers to reduce power consumption or increase power supply to the network in exchange for savings, in turn freeing up electricity network capacity at times of peak demand.

Octopus Energy, the UK’s second largest supplier, has pioneered demand response through its ‘Intelligent Octopus’ tariff. Intelligent Octopus is the UK’s first 100% flexible car charging tariff, providing cheap, clean electricity for 7.5p per kilowatt hour (kWh) when it is best for the grid.

The combined capacity of the car batteries on Intelligent Octopus has now surpassed the Minety Battery Storage Facility in Wiltshire, currently the largest battery on the grid. The cars on the tariff store more than 320MWh of energy - enough to power a city the size of Leicester for an hour.

Customers on ‘Intelligent Octopus’ and other Octopus EV tariffs in the Northern Powergrid service area will now automatically take part in demand flexibility and grid balancing schemes for the region.

‘Intelligent Octopus’ will avoid charging at peak times (typically between 4:30-7pm), but still enable a fully charged EV whenever a customer needs it, saving on grid costs but not sacrificing on mobility or preparedness.

By signing up to ‘Intelligent Octopus’, customers are already getting some of the best rates on energy over the cheap night rate, while simultaneously taking part in grid balancing campaigns that benefit a cheaper, greener system.

Liz Sidebotham, Commercial Manager for Flexibility at Northern Powergrid, said “Flexibility is a win-win situation for everyone involved. Organisations with flexibility contracts can secure additional income while at the same time contributing to our region’s net zero transition.”

“We’re delighted to be working with Octopus Energy and expanding our portfolio of flexibility services. This new contract means that we are now deploying both demand turn down as well as generation turn up to help manage our network. By adjusting their electric vehicle charging times, these households are actively facilitating the energy transition, playing a part alongside commercial organisations.”

On its new flexibility contract, Alex Schoch, Head of Flexibility at Octopus Energy, said: “We are pleased to be working with Northern Powergrid on this much-needed flexibility offer, as we are with other distribution network operators. Our work in their service area will allow us both to accelerate a cleaner, cheaper grid through intelligent demand response, and bring costs down for all consumers in the long run.”

Northern Powergrid is committed to making flexibility a key part of powering the UK towards net zero by 2050. Flexibility is a fundamental means of efficiently managing network utilisation and avoiding reinforcement. Optimising flexibility enables Northern Powergrid to manage peaks in generation and demand, which means it can get the best value out of its existing network and investments, maximising cost efficiency for all customers.

Flexibility markets are open to organisations with the ability to modify their consumption of and/or production of electricity at pre-agreed times. Northern Powergrid is looking to procure flexibility at key locations across its network and runs tenders at regular intervals. The next tender will be in the autumn For further information on flexibility services, please visit Flexibility Services | Northern Powergrid , or email flexibility@northernpowergrid.com.


Notes to Editors:

About Octopus Energy Group

Octopus Energy is a global energy and technology group, driving the affordable, green energy system of the future. Its operations span 14 countries and the entire energy value chain. The group invests in, builds and flexibly manages renewable energy, operating a £6 billion portfolio of projects – one of Europe’s largest.

Octopus serves 5.5 million customers through its retail arm, and has licensed its advanced data and machine learning platform, Kraken, to support 30 million customer accounts worldwide through licensing deals with energy companies, including EDF, E.ON and Origin Energy.

Kraken enables Octopus to drive the electrification of heat and transport through smart tariffs and innovative cleantech. Backed by pension funds, investors and energy giants, Octopus Energy Group businesses deliver cheaper, greener energy and cutting-edge tech to countries and customers worldwide.

For more information, check out our website.

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