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.
 
Description New local market designs allowing electric vehicle owners to trade peer-to-peer energy and distribution flexibility have been proposed:
- A new design for local distribution system flexibility markets has been proposed, 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.
- A new probabilistic mechanism for managing uncertainty and network constraints within peer-to-peer energy markets has been proposed. Unlike existing approaches, a central authority is not required to check and approve transactions, maintaining scalability and autonomy. It has been demonstrated that with this new design, peer-to-peer markets can create value for both local energy resource owners and system operators.

The new software tools developed for the project have been combined into the "Open Platform for Energy Networks (OPEN)", which provides an integrated open-source Python toolset for modelling, control and simulation of smart local energy systems. The framework combines distributed energy resource modelling (e.g. for PV generation sources, battery energy storage systems, electric vehicles), energy market modelling, power flow simulation and multi-period optimisation for scheduling flexible energy resources.
Exploitation Route The market designs and software tools developed could be used as the basis for 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 eight papers published in top-ranked power systems and energy 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 organised with funding from an EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account Award (£5k), the "Oxford Workshop on Flexible Federated Energy Systems", which brought together 28 representatives from industry and academia working on market design for smart energy systems to discuss future research challenges and opportunities. Additional high-impact engagement activities have included: - 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. - 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. - Invited to present on panel sessions at the INFORMS 2019 Annual Meeting and the 2019 IEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting. - Invited to contribute a chapter on "How can P2P energy trading platforms be designed to create value for both prosumers and system operators?" to a report for the Solar Trade Association on "Trading Sunlight: Prospects for Peer to Peer Energy Trading". Finally, the project has led to significant follow up funding. In particular, I am a co-investigator on the project "Energy Revolution Research Consortium - Plus - EnergyREV - Market Design for Scaling up Local Clean Energy Systems" (£475k). This project will build on the novel tools and methods developed through the fellowship to investigate how changes to the UK's system level energy markets and regulatory arrangements could support the smart local energy systems being trialled by the Government's £100m Prospering from the Energy Revolution Challenge initiative.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Energy
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Energy Revolution Research Consortium - Plus - EnergyREV - Market Design for Scaling up Local Clean Energy Systems
Amount £475,036 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S031901/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2019 
End 03/2022
 
Description Impact Acceleration Account Award Impact Workshop
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 0006898 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2019 
End 03/2020
 
Title Open Platform for Energy Networks (OPEN) 
Description Oxford University's Energy and Power Group's Open Platform for Energy Networks (OPEN) provides a python toolset for modelling, simulation and optimisation of smart local energy systems. The framework combines distributed energy resource modelling (e.g. for PV generation sources, battery energy storage systems, electric vehicles), energy market modelling, power flow simulation and multi-period optimisation for scheduling flexible energy resources. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2019 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact OPEN is currently being use for modelling, design and testing smart energy system control strategies and market designs for a number of projects including the "Vehicle-to-Grid Oxford (V2GO)" demonstration project and the "EnergyREV - Market Design for Scaling up Local Clean Energy Systems" project. 
 
Description The Oxford Workshop on Flexible Federated Energy Systems 
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 On the 2nd of October 2019, I organised and hosted the "Oxford Workshop on Flexible Federated Energy Systems". Funding for the workshop was provided by an EPSRC Impact Acceleration Award, and the event was co-organised by the Oxford Energy and Power Group, the Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment, and the Oxford Martin School Programme on Integrating Renewable Energy. The workshop brought together 28 representatives from industry and academia working on market design for smart local energy systems (SLES). The aim was to discuss emerging challenges and opportunities, with sessions focused on: 'What value can SLES offer?'; 'How can we design markets for SLES?'; 'How can we integrate local flexibility into transmission system operations?'; and 'What new tools are needed for managing SLES?'. As hoped, these topics provoked lively discussion and new ideas for collaborations. Presentations were given by Malcolm McCulloch from the Local Energy Oxfordshire (LEO) demonstrator, Colm Murphy from National Grid ESO, Steve Atkins from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks and Nick Good from Upside Energy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
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 Exhibition Road Day of Design panel session: "The Science Museum presents: Can batteries solve our clean energy problem?" 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public panel session organised by the the Science Museum, in collaboration with the Royal Commission of 1851. Focus was on "What are the problems we need to solve to before the national grid can go green?" Had good questions from attendees from the public including high school students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/exhibition-road-day-of-design
 
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 Panel Sessions at INFORMS Annual Meeting 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited to present on panel session on "Advanced Game-theoretic Models in Energy Systems" and "Advanced Analytics for Local Energy Markets and Aggregator Business Models" the INFORMS 2019 Annual Meeting in Seattle. The INFORMS Annual Meeting is the main gathering of the The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. The aim of the panel sessions was to help introduce local energy market design as a new research problem for a broader audience of operations researchers, game theorists and computer scientists.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Panel session on "Harnessing the Flexibility of Behind-the-Meter Energy Resources" at the 2019 IEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Panel session hosted by the IEEE Working Group on Demand Response at the 2019 IEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting in Atlanta.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://site.ieee.org/pes-psope/subcommittees/power-system-economics-subcommittee/working-group-on-d...
 
Description Trading Sunlight: Prospects for P2P energy trading (Breakfast Briefing) 
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 Invited to present at event launching the report "Trading Sunlight: Prospects for peer to peer energy trading in the UK solar industry", which I contributed a chapter to on "How can P2P energy trading platforms be designed to create value for both prosumers and system operators?" co-authored with Dr Helen Gavin. The event brought together over 60 representatives from industry and goverement interested in new business models for solar generation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/trading-sunlight-prospects-for-peer-to-peer-energy-trading/
 
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