AMPECO recently announced a new partnership with Electric Miles, which allows our UK-based charge point operators to leverage their EV charging assets and participate in demand flexibility.
The overall goal of demand flexibility is to balance the electricity grid and reduce the need for expensive and polluting forms of energy generation, such as fossil fuels. Traditionally, large network infrastructure projects have been the flexibility solution for grid operators and utilities. However, the lower cost of renewables and energy storage have increased the adoption of distributed energy resources, making demand-side flexibility the go-to solution to strengthen grids. This has prompted smaller-sized assets such as EV batteries, heat pumps, and solar units to participate in energy flexibility.
Enabling energy flexibility with EVs
Energy flexibility is the ability of a system to adapt to changes in supply and demand through renewable energy sources or energy storage technologies. By 2030, EVs are expected to add 30% to the grid’s peak energy requirements. However, smart charging, which ensures that charging occurs during periods of low demand or surplus generation, can turn EVs from a threat into an asset that can benefit the electric grid. EVs are particularly well suited for this because they can also store surplus energy during periods of oversupply. On an aggregate basis, they provide valuable flexibility to the grid.
A charge point operator’s role in energy flexibility
Using AMPECO’s platform, charge point operators connect EVs to the grid and control when EV charging occurs thanks to the platform’s smart charging technology, which enables charging to be shifted to off-peak periods. The chargers within a network are the connecting points through which EV batteries can be aggregated to create Virtual Power Plants (VPPs). VPPs are systems that use digital technologies to aggregate and manage the electricity generation and consumption of multiple distributed energy resources (DERs). Electric charging can be aggregated into VPPs, allowing EV charging to be coordinated and optimized along with other DERs to provide grid services and improve grid reliability.
How it works
As a charge point operator, you can make money by participating in demand response programs that reward you for reducing or shifting your energy consumption in response to changes in demand. This can include programs that pay you for reducing your charging during times of peak demand, as well as programs that allow you to sell excess energy back to the grid.
AMPECO’s integration with Electric Miles allows charge point operators to generate revenue by providing valuable grid services. By providing access to the EV charging assets in your network, you can participate in VPP revenue-generating activities. Electric Miles’s Energy Flexibility platform aggregates the distributed energy resources from multiple CPOs into Virtual Loads and Virtual Power Plant (VPP) that can be traded on the energy markets during peak demand giving charge point operators access to new grid-balancing revenues. Using demand-side flexibility data from Electric Miles, AMPECO’s charge point operators can optimize smart charging schedules for thousands of chargers to automatically align with demand reduction contracts from grid operations to help maintain grid stability.
How EV Drivers benefit from energy flexibility
EV drivers can automatically schedule charging to occur during low-demand periods using AMPECO’s app, which reacts to real-time electricity price signals ensuring customers charge at the lowest electricity tariffs. EV drivers benefit by charging their vehicles during times of low demand, allowing them to take advantage of lower electricity prices and support the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid. Additionally, by participating in VPPs and other demand-side management systems, EV drivers can benefit from the revenue-generating activities of the VPP, such as providing grid services or selling excess renewable energy.
“We see our partnership as an opportunity to not only drive new revenue value from smart charging for AMPECO’s clients but also to leverage economies of scale for decarbonization that is not achievable by individual CPOs. Our vision is that the DSF data will enable us to bring a new flexibility API to enhance the smart charging algorithms of all CPOs.”Arun Anand, Founder and CEO at Electric Miles
Unlocking flexibility key to decongesting the UK power grid
Distribution System Operators (DSOs) are responsible for managing the distribution of electricity from the grid to consumers. Combining EV smart charging with flexibility markets provides more options for effective grid management. DSOs can optimize the safe delivery of power to EVs without needing expensive network reinforcements and compromising the electricity supply to offices and homes. As energy systems become greener and more reliant on solar and wind generation, grid congestion management through flexibility becomes ever more critical. Flexibility contracts and connected flexibility markets, facilitated by partnerships like AMPECO and Electric Miles, help manage or prevent grid congestion.
What the future holds
To mitigate significant stress from the electrification of transportation fleets, grid companies offer flexibility contracts to demand-side aggregators. Electric Miles has won demand-side response contracts with UK Power Networks, Western Power Distribution, and SP Energy Networks in the UK, with plans to expand to the US, Western Europe, and the Nordic region. Britain’s Distribution network operators (DNOs) have contracted record levels of flexibility, 3.2 GW for 2022-2023. They will potentially be able to provide over 11GW of flexible capacity to the UK’s energy system by 2030, greatly increasing flexibility opportunities for charge point operators and EV drivers.