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  • Andrew Byrne

Two-way traffic as electric London buses provide energy to National Grid

Updated: Sep 10, 2020

To a passer-by, Northumberland Park bus station looks pretty much like any other bus station – albeit a particularly large one – but something revolutionary is happening there. This bus station in North London has been transformed into one of the biggest electric bus facilities in Europe and from August 13th, it will host what is believed to be the world’s largest vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial site.

V2G technology allows electric vehicles to recharge when electricity demand is low and to feed energy back into the electricity network when demand is high. The technology is relatively nascent and has so far been mostly concentrated on smaller vehicles like cars.

The new project in London – called Bus2Grid and led by SSE Enterprise – will facilitate up to 28 double-decker buses and will contribute to “balancing the grid” through the provision of 1 megawatt of power when it is most needed. Bus2Grid will trial the fleet of buses over a three-year trial period.

SSE's partners in Bus2Grid are UK Power Network, Leeds University, bus manufacturers BYD/Alexander Dennis, bus operator Go-Ahead London with aggregation of the buses supported by Origami. Funding has been provided by the Department of Business Energy & Industrial Strategy, Innovate UK and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.

The entire fleet of buses across London amounts to more than 9,000 with Go-Ahead chosen for this trial since their fleet of 240 electric buses makes them the largest e-bus operator in the UK. It is expected that there will be 300 electric buses operating across London by the end of 2020.

One of the more fanciful estimates voiced along with the Bus2Grid news is that if London’s entire bus fleet switched to the project’s technology, it could generate enough energy to supply 150,000 homes. It remains to be seen whether this hope will reach fruition but with Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, aiming to make London carbon neutral by 2030, it is undoubtedly exercising minds somewhere in the capital.


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