North London bus garage to become ‘virtual power station’

Posted: August 13, 2020 by oldbrew in Energy, innovation
Tags: ,

BYD electric bus, London [image credit: China Daily]

What effect this could have on the life of the bus batteries remains to be seen, but it’s unlikely to be beneficial. The efficiency or otherwise of the power transfer process is also open to question.
– – –
A north London bus garage is to become the world’s largest trial site for a new eco-friendly method of generating electricity, reports the Evening Standard.

Northumberland Park garage is to be transformed into a “virtual power station” – taking energy stored in the batteries of parked electric buses and feeding it back into the electricity network.

Putting energy back into the grid when demand is high and recharging buses when demand is low helps make the network more efficient by balancing the peaks and troughs.

The Government-funded Bus2Grid project will become operational in November and will run for three years.

Energy firm SSE Enterprise is leading the project in a partnership including the Mayor of London, Transport for London, bus operator Go-Ahead London and the University of Leeds.

The trial will initially use the batteries of 28 double-decker buses which are capable of returning more than one megawatt of energy to the grid.

If the entire London bus fleet of around 9,000 vehicles was converted with the technology, it could meet the energy needs of more than 150,000 homes, according to SSE Enterprise.

Full report here.

SSE Press Release: London bus garage becomes world’s largest vehicle-to-grid site

  1. Stephen Richards says:

    Really ? I mean Really.

    ‘ang on Reg I’ll just get the bus ready to leave on time. Oh, #ugger. No charge left. Someone stole me electricity.”

  2. oldbrew says:

    Or your bus doesn’t show up because it’s hooked up to the National Grid instead?

  3. Dave Ward says:

    “It could meet the energy needs of more than 150,000 homes”

    And where, pray, does this “energy” come from in the first place?

  4. oldbrew says:

    a new eco-friendly method of generating electricity

    Except they’re not ‘generating’ anything 🙄
    – – –
    it could meet the energy needs of more than 150,000 homes

    Eventually yes, if whole bus depots are converted – but not in this smaller-scale trial.
    – – –
    SSE graphic:

  5. JB says:

    “…new eco-friendly method of generating electricity…”

    Charging batteries back up always takes more energy than what is delivered. The more intensive the discharge/charge cycle, the shorter the life.

    GREAT plan, this. Increase the hardware, and operational costs by shortening battery life.

    “Anything government does for the economy is positive feedback.”–Robert Heinlein

    “It would wreck the very foundation on which our political government is run … If you ever injected truth into politics you’d have no politics … Even the ministers are denouncing it now … Humanity is not yet ready for either real truth or real harmony.”–Will Rogers

  6. cognog2 says:

    9000 buses 150,000 homes at 36 KW/bus = 2.16 KW/home. But for how long? Perhaps nice to know that someone at home can put the kettle on while you are waiting for the bus.

  7. Ian W says:

    “A north London bus garage is to become the world’s largest trial site for a new eco-friendly method of generating electricity, reports the Evening Standard.”

    It is not generating electricity. The electricity that has been downloaded to the buses is then uploaded to the grid. The buses will have been designed for a several hour charge period trickle is better for the batteries. They will not get this full period they will get a shorter period especially if the upload is due to rescue a mainly renewables grid on an anticyclonic night in winter dark from 3:30pm to 8am, with a hard frost and no wind. The buses may not be drained but could run out of power en-route which would be worse. The power consumption during winter rush hour would be higher as all the lights would be on and the heating. Imagine London rush hour and a bus stopped across a North Circular intersection bricked and it cannot be towed.

  8. Bloke back down the pub says:

    When a bus company thinks that it can make more money by selling ‘green’ energy than by operating buses, it shows how skewed the energy sector is.

  9. Coeur de Lion says:

    Good point, bloke, but assuming the transformers work both ways and aren’t a cost, what is the price difference per kWh between on and off peak. Times how many kWh? What about overtime costs for supervision, plugging, unplugging, making sure that mine to Smith Sq Westminster has enough juice left. There’s got to be contingency, too. It’s a messy, silly idea with no benefit.

  10. Curious George says:

    Bus schedules will change dynamically with winds.

  11. Damian says:

    It seems like every article I read regarding EVs being attached to the grid treat power shortages as the new normal, as something we should expect.

  12. oldbrew says:

    Might be a good idea not to live anywhere near an electricity-guzzling bus depot in future.

  13. tom0mason says:

    I’ll give it 2 years max, before the entire scheme is silently abandoned due to maintenance and cost difficulties. Unless that is, some government idiot decides to subsidize it and then we’ll see real money being wasted — peoples’ tax money.

    IMO it would make more sense to fire-up Drax with £10 notes for all this good this scheme is worth.

    “Northumberland Park garage is to be transformed into a “virtual power station” – taking energy stored in the batteries of parked electric buses and feeding it back into the electricity network.”
    Making money by assisting in the failure of the UK’s electrical generation system. Still soon the UK hobbling along on unreliable off-shore wind generation will be plugged into the Eurogrid, and more gas fired generators running on Putin’s gas.
    All the while the would-be bus passengers shiver in the night awaiting a service that does not turn-up, because the bus company has realized it makes more money from an electricity scam than keeping (or expanding) passenger services. What next — virtual buses for virtual passengers?

  14. Hmmm, 28 buses being charged simultaneously. That will require some wiring!

    I wonder how many Tesla equivalents 28 electric buses make?

  15. oldbrew says:

    Tom – it’s already ‘The Government-funded Bus2Grid project’.

  16. tom0mason says:

    So oldbrew there are years of life in it, during which time a few bus company executive will become wealthy while the tax payers lose again.
    What do the fare paying travelers on these buses get out of this? Probably nothing, or a worse service.

  17. gwaigau says:

    Surely even the idiots in government must realise this is just another way of defrauding the taxpayer? When will this green con ever end?

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