Isles of Scilly project to test use of EV and home batteries in smart grids

A £10.8m project on the Isles of Scilly is to test the role of electric vehicles and home batteries in a low-carbon smart grid.

The smart battery company Moixa will develop platforms allowing electric vehicles and smart home batteries to be used to help balance supply and demand within the islands’ energy system, although the project will not fund the electric vehicles and charging points themselves.

The Smart Energy Islands (SEI) project, part-financed by £8.6 million from the European Regional Development Fund, will be the first step in the wider Smart Islands programme, which aims to cut the islands electricity bills by 40%, meet 40% of their energy demand through renewables, and see 40% of vehicles on the islands being electric or low-carbon by 2025.

The Electric Vehicle Management System will control and optimise how electric car batteries are used by the islands’ energy system. It will develop learning algorithms to ensure that when electric vehicles are deployed they are maintained at a state of charge best able to support the energy system and the needs of their users.

Home batteries will allow islanders with solar panels to save money by using more of the power they generate. They will also be able to import or export energy to balance local energy needs.

Moixa’s systems will integrate with an Internet of Things (IoT) platform developed by Hitachi Europe, which is leading the SEI project. It will use home batteries, electric vehicles and smart heating technologies to balance supply and demand of electricity, which should mean the Isles of Scilly can develop more renewables.

Chris Wright, Moixa’s chief technology officer, said: “Moixa’s role in the Smart Energy Islands project will demonstrate how ordinary people will play a key role in our future energy system. Home batteries and electric vehicles controlled by smart software will help create a reliable, cost-effective, low-carbon energy system that will deliver savings to homeowners and the community.

“Our systems will support the reduction of fuel poverty on the Scilly Isles and support their path to full energy independence. They will be scalable and flexible so they can be replicated easily to allow communities all over the world to cut carbon and benefit from the smart power revolution.”

Meanwhile, the Council for Science and Technology has advised the government that smart technology should form a crucial part of its industrial strategy. In a letter published yesterday, the council said: “Successful innovation in electricity network technologies, including smart technologies and all forms of energy storage, could save the energy system around £4.4bn, support the growth of a UK industry and contribute an estimated £5.1bn to GDP by 2050. This is a competitive sector although a UK firm, Moixa Technologies, is developing battery systems for homes and businesses.” 

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