The UK council, which has set a goal of being carbon neutral, is partnering with E-Flex, a demonstration project led by Cisco.
The historic south west of England naval city of Plymouth, has teamed with E-Flex, a Cisco-led vehicle-to-grid (V2G) demonstration project to trial the use of V2G with its fleet of electric vehicles (EVs).
Plymouth City Council has set the goal of being carbon neutral by 2030 and wants to use V2G technology to make EVs more practical and commercially viable is part of a broader local strategy.
The council’s own fleet has six EVs available for everyday employee business travel around the city. The trial will see the council’s existing fleet of Nissan Leafs equipped with bidirectional chargers, enabling them to take electricity from the grid and release it back when the vehicle is not in use.
“Plymouth is a particularly strained part of the grid, with Cornwall generating a lot of renewable energy but delivering this further up the country at times of high demand,” said Dan Turner, low carbon city officer, Plymouth City Council.
“For businesses to grow, we need to find new ways to support their energy consumption whilst reducing connection costs across the city, so the V2G concept appeals to us from a grid management perspective as well as a commercial one.”
As well as being commercially beneficial, the aim of V2G is to alleviate pressure at times of peak usage on the local grid and prepare the existing charging infrastructure for an increase in the number of electric vehicles.
“As we are seeing in the private sector, now more than ever before, it’s crucial for towns and cities to align their future goals with sustainable industry and a plan to reduce carbon emissions”
This allows vehicles to charge at times of lower demand when energy is cheaper and release it back at times of higher demand when it is more expensive.
The council said it will be trialling V2G with both long- and short-term goals in mind. In the near future, it hopes to use V2G as a means of managing energy costs more effectively to free up investment for other local challenges.
It also aims to improve the local services available to EV users, increasing the number of charging ports across Plymouth.
Long term, the council said it hopes to drive external investment from sustainable businesses by demonstrating Plymouth’s low-carbon agenda. In turn, the city plans to increase engagement in the education sector, driving collaboration between Plymouth University and private businesses to create a hub for future innovation in this space.
“As we are seeing in the private sector, now more than ever before, it’s crucial for towns and cities to align their future goals with sustainable industry and a plan to reduce carbon emissions,” added Maria Hernandez, head of innovation, Cisco UK & Ireland.
With the potential to transform the way urban areas consume energy, V2G technology is a win-win for council fleets, business fleets and public sector services alike.”
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