Northern Powergrid and Nissan to explore innovative grid technology

Northern Powergrid, a UK electrical distribution company, has signed a contract with vehicle manufacturer Nissan.
Published: Mon 29 May 2017

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Through a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the companies will be researching a range of innovation projects over the next six years.The focus will be on electric vehicles (EV), batteries and other technologies that can support energy networks. There will also be research into new technologies and how these can enhance the capacity, capability and resilience of the region’s power network.

The goal of this MoU is to create a more active and responsive grid, something which is becoming critical especially with the increase in customer expectations-both in residential and commercial.

Vehicle to grid improving network capacity

The partnership also represents another step forward for Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility blueprint in Europe, which aims to demonstrate how electric vehicles like Nissan’s EV LEAF can be used by electricity providers and grid infrastructure to deliver cleaner, more energy efficient networks.

Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology, for instance, is allowing EVs to be fully integrated into the electricity grid, improving network capacity and helping to make renewable energy sources more affordable and more widely available.V2G also provides an opportunity to create mobile energy hubs, by integrating large numbers of EVs directly with the grid. This will help EV owners to connect and charge the vehicles during off peak times when the rates are lower. During peak times, they are able to use their stored energy for consumption, thereby avoiding the higher rates. During peak times, they are also in a position to feed their stored energy back to the grid to generate an income.

The transition to smart grid systems, the evolution of EVs stimulated by the development of vehicle batteries, and aggressive policies in renewable energy are some of the drivers for Europe’s V2G market.

Large-scale deployments of smart grid technologies such as smart meters will enable V2G integration and increase the share of renewable power in the region.

This will in turn drive the need for technologies that will enable grid integration to manage renewable power generation. V2G integration demonstration projects are already taking shape in countries such as Denmark and Germany that have a large amount of renewable power generation.

Denmark is host to the world’s first fully commercial V2G hub which was promoted by Enel, Nissan and Nuvve . Becoming the first customer to commercially integrate and host V2G units at its headquarters in Copenhagen, utility Frederiksberg Forsyning has installed 10 Enel V2G units and purchased 10 zero emission, 100% electric Nissan e-NV200 vans for the company’s fleet. When the e-NV200s are not in use, these are plugged into the new Enel V2G units on site and can receive energy from and return energy to the national grid on demand, effectively turning the vans into mobile energy solutions.

Enel Energia, Nissan Italy and the Italian Institute of Technology have also just recently teamed up on a corporate electric car sharing pilot with V2G charging.

Sustainable energy networks need innovation

Jim Cardwell, head of trading and innovation at Northern Powergrid, said in a  statement:“Building on what we are already doing around innovation projects, this signals the start of a ground-breaking industry partnership to explore new innovations that could support the creation of smarter, greener energy networks and help shape future technologies to support the efficient roll-out of electric vehicles.”

Patrick Erwin, policy and markets director at Northern Powergrid, said: “We’re both major employers in the region. By bringing together our expertise we will help the region – as part of the Northern Powerhouse – play a leading role in exploring innovation and technological advances that could potentially benefit future generations, communities, businesses and industries both in and outside of the UK.”

Ed Jones, EV Manager, Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd said: “We’ve always known that Nissan’s EV technology can be used for so much more than just getting people from A-to-B and we’re delighted to be sharing our expertise to help create more sustainable energy networks in the UK.”

Northern Powergrid serves the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire region.