Ebb & Flow Energy Systems
Outcome of the study
What did you achieve and is it what you set out to do? If not why? Where are the gaps? What are the deliverables of the study?
The proposal set out three main areas of investigation for the feasibility study, namely, virtual power plants, electric vehicles and business models.
The study undertook an investigation into the two way transfer of energy to and from electric vehicles. This transfer was investigated in the context of the application of the virtual power plant concept, including the supply of energy from local renewable sources.
The study identified the technical methods that need to be developed and deployed to deliver the Ebbs and Flows of Energy concept. Elements of the concept are commercial off the shelf products and elements will need to be developed using as the starting point the existing off the shelf products. The study outlined the scope of the technical developments and identified possible development methods and development partners.
The work on the business case initially identified three potential deployment scenarios, namely:
• A small community with distributed generation and electric vehicles. A suitable site was identified in Wales that had a restriction on the amount of distributed generation that could be connected to the grid. Discussions took place with the community to identify the technical issues and a possible business model for implementation. Following discussions it was decided that the location would be a suitable roll out site for and Ebbs and Flows of Energy System but it would probably not be an early adopter due to the low levels of distributed generation (1.5kWh solar panels) and low levels of interest in electric vehicles at present.
• A new build school premises with a significant level of distributed generation. The school were looking to see if there was ways of using some of the excess solar generated energy to charge electric vehicles in the summer periods (particularly out of term time and at weekend). Following discussions it was decided that the location would be a suitable roll out site for and Ebbs and Flows of Energy System but it would probably not be an early adopter due to the limited plans for electric vehicles in the short term.
• A business/science park with plans in the short term for distributed generation and electric vehicles. The park had investigated plans for distributed generation (including solar, wind and combined heat and power), however, two problems were encountered namely capacity constraints on the local grid and a lack of storage capacity for distributed generation. Following an initial assessment of the suitability of the park as an early adopter, it was decided to take forward a more detailed examination of the potential deployment of an Ebbs and Flows of Energy System at the park. Detailed business model and technical analysis was undertaken and following a workshop where the results of the analysis were presented to the business park, it was decided to take forward proposals for using the science/business park as a demonstrator site.
The study set out to analyse a range of use cases to identify and technical and business case solution that could be taken forward for at least one use case. The study analysed three uses cases and undertook a detailed analysis of one of the use cases (as outlined in the proposal). The outcome of the detailed analysis was the decision to take forward the science/business park forward for implementation as a demonstration site for the following reasons:
• The demonstration would encompass each of the elements of the Ebbs and Flows of Energy systems, namely, a form of a virtual power plant, two way transfer of energy to electric vehicles and thirdly a new type of business model that allows for the commercial flexibility for generating revenue from the supply of energy from electric vehicles. The park also has energy grid constrainst that would require significant levels of management of the distributed generation and has the active support of the business park owners who see this as a possible solution that could be rolled out across the rest of the owners extensive business property portfolio.
The study is based on three technical components. Firstly the Virtual Power Plant (VPP) at an aggregate level combining energy generation from multiple sources, leading to "positive energy" buildings, i.e. having the ability to satisfy their own energy needs (thermal and/or electric) and contribute excess power to the community. Secondly electric vehicles (EVs) with a vehicle to grid capability and smart metering to allow the ebb and flow of energy between the grid, the virtual power plant and the EVs. The third element involves identifying business models for implementation and operation of the system. The positive energy building concept becomes technically and economically feasible if extending its boundary to groups of buildings, campuses or communities (aggregators). The feasibility study aims to indetify the issues that need to be addressed in these three areas and develop an approach to addressing the issues and the appropriate business model or models for developing a solution.
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