Energy news round-up: electric vehicles could offer cheaper energy storage than large-scale batteries, and more

electric car
(Image credit: Getty)

This week's energy news round-up starts with a report that electric vehicles could offer a cheaper and greener alternative to the UK's energy storage problems than large-scale batteries. 

There's also positive news for energy bills; and the announcement of a new energy price comparison service that aims to help users find the best energy deals in their area. Here's what's happened in energy over the last seven days...

Electric vehicles could create 'mega battery' to help stabilise the grid 

When it comes to stabilising the grid from peaks and troughs in energy demand, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) could offer a much cheaper solution than continually deploying large-scale energy storage systems. That's according to Andrew Cruden, Professor of Energy Technology at the University of Southampton. 

"When an electric vehicle is plugged in for re-charging, it is effectively enabling the electricity grid to access its battery," says Cruden. "When you have many vehicles all plugged in at once, they create a very large aggregated battery store."

This is known as vehicle-to-grid storage (V2G). It's still early days for the tech - it requires two-way charging equipment that can communicate with the vehicles, plus high-level aggregator control systems. But as the transport sector continues to electrify, V2G could result in a larger, greener and cheaper alternative energy store than stationary large-scale battery systems.

Digital startup to launch new energy comparison service 

London-based digital bank startup Revolut is working with price-comparison expert Decision Tech to establish a new energy comparison service. It aims to help bill payers compare prices for energy and other services, and will encourage them to switch energy supplier where possible. 

The 'Essentials' service will be rolled out in the UK via a mobile phone app, according to a company press release. The app will also offer customers access to a range of suppliers and exclusive deals.  

Cheaper wind energy could mean fall in bills

wind farm energy

(Image credit: Pexels)

The latest deployments in UK offshore wind could generate electricity so cheaply it would produce another fall in energy bills, according to findings by researchers at Imperial College London. 

So far, offshore wind farms have benefited from government subsidies, Engineering and Technology reports. But the most recently approved projects are expected to produce power so cheaply they will enable operators to pay the government money – so-called ‘negative subsidies‘ – and in turn, enable a reduction in household energy bills. 

New Gov figures show the UK broke its clean energy generation record in 2019 

New figures released by the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) show that in 2019 a record 37.1 per cent of UK energy was generated by renewables - up from 33.1 per cent in 2018. 

Onshore and offshore wind accounted for 20 per cent of total domestic generation. Domestic wind, solar and hydropower in combination produced an 11 per cent increase in clean energy, while output from bioenergy also increased, by 1.6 per cent. 

Ofgem to stop energy brokers overcharging 

Ofgem, the UK energy regulator, is determined to crack down on rogue energy brokers that are overcharging charities, community groups and care homes by concealing exaggerated commission charges. 

Some customers are paying far more than they need to for energy. Ofgem now intends to introduce new measures requiring energy suppliers to monitor the conduct of their brokers more closely and to ensure greater transparency. 

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Robin Whitlock

Robin is a freelance journalist specialising in renewable energy, environmental issues, climate change and transport. He's written for Renewable Energy Magazine for almost a decade, covering all sub-sectors of the global renewable industry - from onshore and offshore wind, solar PV and solar thermal energy, to biomass, anaerobic digestion (AD), geothermal, energy efficiency and smart technology, electric vehicles and hybrids, and much more.