A Networked Market Platform for Electric Vehicle Smart Charging

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Engineering Science

Abstract

The aim of this fellowship is to answer a key research question for power systems engineering: "As the UK and other countries move towards transport electrification, how can potentially millions of electric vehicles be successfully integrated into power system operations?"

Electric vehicles have become increasingly cost competitive, due to the cost of lithium-ion battery packs falling by approximately 77% over the last 6 years. The UK has over 100,000 electric vehicles, but it is estimated 26 million will be needed to meet 2050 emissions targets. The UK government is strongly supporting this, announcing a ban on the sale of diesel and petrol cars and vans after 2040, and the Faraday Challenge, £246 million towards electric vehicle battery development.

If electric vehicle charging is left uncoordinated, the large-scale adoption of electric vehicles is expected to cause significant power system challenges. Peak demand is expected to increase on the order of 20GW (approximately a 40% increase), necessitating new power plants and large-scale transmission infrastructure upgrades. A significant impact is also expected at the local distribution network level. The My Electric Avenue project identified that without smart charging, transport electrification will necessitate new investment to reinforce 32% of UK low voltage distribution network feeders (312,000 feeders).

This motivates the need for smart charging - coordinated scheduling of the charging times and powers of electric vehicles. However, existing strategies do not facilitate or incentivise this coordination, particularly at the local distribution network level. Top-down regimes that directly curtail charging impose an external cost on electric vehicle owners and manufacturers, and will slow adoption. Mechanisms that instead incentivise coordination are a promising approach, but require careful engineering design, since they influence power system operation in real time.

Through this fellowship, a networkedmarket platform will be designed which can incentivise aggregate and localised coordination between millions of electric vehicles, while managing local power network voltage and thermal constraints in real time. This will be achieved by combining recent advances in multi-agent control, power engineering and networked matching market theory, to design new algorithms suitable for large-scale implementation. The project is supported by two industry partners, EDF Energy, the second largest electricity supplier in the UK with over 5 million customers, and Upside Energy, a UK virtual demand side response aggregator. The proposed market platform has the potential to provide significant value by alleviating the need for generation and transmission infrastructure investments, increasing network efficiency and increasing energy security.

Planned Impact

Through this fellowship, a market platform will be designed which can scale to incentivise coordination between potentially millions of electric vehicles, each with different owners. The key engineering challenge is the need to manage local power network voltage and thermal constraints in real time. A market platform which can meet this challenge has the potential to provide significant value by alleviating the need for generation and transmission infrastructure investments, increasing network efficiency and increasing energy security.

The fellowship will directly help address Industrial Strategy priority area 'Cheap and Clean Energy Technologies', by integrating multiple smart technologies (including smart meters, electric vehicles and active distribution network management) to create value for electric vehicle owners and the power system as a whole. The UK government's 2017 Green Paper "Building Our Industrial Strategy" specifically identifies the need for new technologies to prepare the UK for the shift to electric vehicles.

During the fellowship, the focus will be fundamental research and the creation of intellectual property with the industry partners, Upside Energy and EDF Energy, which can subsequently be commercialised.

The market platform is of direct commercial interest to Upside Energy and other demand side response aggregators, offering them the new opportunity to subscribe electric vehicles as a source of energy flexibility. In addition to wholesale energy trading and frequency balancing services, the platform will allow aggregators to offer new localised flexibility services to distribution network operators, to help manage voltage and thermal constraints.

EDF Energy and other electricity suppliers see transport electrification as an important growth area, and will be able to benefit from the market platform as a key technology for enabling the low-cost integration of electric vehicles into power systems. Without coordinated charging, electric vehicle integration would require significant power network reinforcement, and the costs for this would likely fall on their customers. As the UK's largest generator of low-carbon electricity, EDF Energy has a particular interest in the new market design, which could be used to incentivise coordinated electric vehicle charging to increase the utilisation of variable renewable generation. In addition, electricity suppliers could use the market platform to offer their customers new value-added charging, vehicle-to-grid and battery management services.

The market platform has the potential to make electric vehicles more attractive to prospective owners, who will be able to benefit from reduced charging costs depending on their level of flexibility. This could have flow on benefits across the emerging electric vehicle industry, contributing towards faster adoption and better utilisation of energy resources.

By helping to minimise the cost of integrating electric vehicles into power systems - and instead enabling them to be used as a power system resource - the project has the potential to significantly benefit the UK and other countries pursuing transport electrification. Ultimately, it could help reduce electricity costs for consumers and reduce the cost of meeting decarbonisation and air quality targets.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description A new design has been proposed for digital market platforms, to enable electricity consumers with small-scale flexibile resources (e.g. electric vehicles, heat-pumps) to offer energy flexibility to distribution system operators. The novel networked market structure accounts for distribution system operator-to-aggregator and aggregator-to-prosumer ICT infrastructure and contractual arrangements, which may limit which participants can negotiate transactions with one another. The proposed flexibility market is opt-in for consumers, who continue to obtain energy within the existing retail electricity market.
Exploitation Route The market design for distribution system flexibility could be used as the basis for software developers to build digital plaforms for distribution system operators interested in the potential of managing local demand constraints by obtaining flexibility from a supply chain of aggregators and individual consumers with small-scale flexible energy resources.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Energy

URL https://www.researchgate.net/project/A-Networked-Market-Platform-for-Electric-Vehicle-Smart-Charging
 
Description Academic work on the project is progressing well, with three papers published in top-ranked IEEE Transactions technical journals. There has already been good initial engagement with the project partners, and I have been able engage with a broader group of experts from industry and goverment in the UK, EU and US. The highest impact enagement activity has been a workshop I organised for the industry partners on blue-skies thinking to develop future business models enabled by electric vehicle smart charging and vehicle-to-grid technology. The workshop resulted in the development of three promising business model sketches (defining key stakeholders, enabling data, value extraction mechanism and monetisation strategy). I was also invited to take part in a week-long delegation to California organised by the British Consulate. The aim was to establish new collaborations focused on transport electrification and vehicle-to-grid technology development. Through this visit, I've established new relationships with a broader range of industry and government organisations in the UK and the US. Finally, I was invited to present a seminar on 'Decentralized Views of Future Electricity Markets' at the University of Cambridge Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, which was attended by leading researchers from engineering, economics and mathematics working on electricity market design. There is interest in developing a group position paper on future electricity markets, which the fellowship research could contribute to.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Energy
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description British Academy Energy Futures Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Invited to a meeting of the Energy Futures Group chaired by Professor Dieter Helm at the British Academy. The topic of the meeting was 'Zero Marginal Costs, Capacity Markets and the Future of the Wholesale Markets'. The meeting is part of a series, with each meeting bringing together around 20 leaders from goverment, regulatory bodies, industry and academia. The purpose of the meetings are to share information and promote open discussion under Chatham House Rules.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited to join a UK EV & V2G delegation to California organised by the British Consulate 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Invited to join a delegation organised by the British Consulate for a week-long visit to California to meet with energy regulators, utilities, researchers and equipment manufacturers working on transport electrification, with the aim of sharing experiences and establishing new collaborations. The UK delegation included representatives from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, Innovate UK, UK Power Networks, OctopusEV, National Grid, OVO Energy and Belfast City Council, as well as researchers from Oxford and Cambridge University. The visit helped establish new relationships with potential industry partners in the US and the UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Workshop for Transmission System Operator Managers 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Invited to give a seminar on 'Scaling Up Smart Local Energy Systems' at a 'Workshop for Transmisison System Operator (TSO) Managers' organised by Interface Conseil Études & Formation. The workshop was attended by engineers and managers working for TSOs from different European countries, and ENTSO-E, (the European Network of Transmisison System Operators). Based on positive feedback received from attendees of the seminar, the organisers are interested in organising a new workshop series, specifically aimed at TSO managers interested in storage and connected systems.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Workshop on Blue-Skies Thinking to Develop Future Business Models 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Organised a workshop for industry partners on blue-skies thinking to develop future business models enabled by electric vehicle smart charging and vehicle-to-grid technology. The participants were researchers and managers from the fellowship partners, EDF Energy and Upside Energy, and from CleanCar and Oxfordshire County Council, which are partners on our Innovate UK project, Vehicle-to-Grid Oxfordshire. The workshop resulted in the development of three promising business model sketches (defining key stakeholders, enabling data, value extraction mechanism and monetisation strategy).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018