Hybrid battery
Electric bus charging
Public charging infrastructure
Oxford City Council fleet electrification
Electric taxis
Renewable heating in homes

Hybrid battery

Cowley substation

  • The UK’s first transmission-connected battery energy storage system
  • The world’s first grid scale ‘hybrid’ battery, consisting of a 50MW/50MWh Lithium ion battery and a 2MW/5MWh Vanadium Redox Flow battery working in tandem (enough energy to supply around 4000 homes for a day)
  • A new machine learning based ‘Optimisation and Trading Engine’ to automate and optimise the use of the battery in the electricity markets and for services to National Grid
  • The ESO project has opened up the transmission connection market to other battery storage developers – such storage is essential for the UK’s future distributed electricity system
  • The battery provides additional flexibility to National Grid in stabilizing the electricity system through frequency management and other services
  • This is the first of up to 40 similar batteries to be built by EDF Renewables (two more already nearing completion and three more approved for investment)
  • New modular Invinity Flow battery now being rolled out in other projects
  • Battery storage is critical for future operation of a distributed grid but requires investors willing to take significant amounts of merchant risk for potentially attractive returns
  • The market for grid services is highly dynamic and needs agility and responsiveness to adapt to the changing requirements of the electricity system
  • Energy Storage is still classified as a generating asset, but given its essential role in regulating the grid this needs to be reviewed.

Electric bus charging

Oxford Bus Company

  • Enabled the Oxford Bus Company to electrify its fleet of 104 buses beginning in the autumn of 2023, through connection to ESO’s private wire network
  • Discussions continue for a further 55 buses to be charged via the network
  • Helped Oxfordshire County Council to win Zero Emission Bus Regional Area (ZEBRA) funding from UK Government
  • A major win for air quality for Oxford residents
  • Ability to pro-actively invest in vital infrastructure for electric vehicle charging ahead of need (i.e., substation at OBC depot) can accelerate the transition
  • Complex projects involving local & national government funding and multiple private companies require patience and commitment

Public charging infrastructure

Redbridge Park & Ride

  • UK’s largest and Europe’s most powerful charging hub with 42 charge points catering for a range of speeds from Fast A/C to Ultra-rapid D/C
  • Construction of a 7km private cable network offering 10MW of power directly from the UK’s overhead electrical network 
  • Launch of the UK’s first transmission-connected EV charging facility
  • Multi Operator hub offers full flexibility for users, from those needing to charge in 15 minutes on a long journey, to those wishing to charge for the day while they visit the city
  • The Superhub provides an attractive option for Oxford residents with EVs but without domestic charging
  • 22,000 visits in the first 8 months providing charging for around 2 million miles of carbon free driving (all charging is on renewable energy tariffs)
  • Public/Private partnership is essential to delivering complex projects of this type – Oxford City Council and its partners demonstrated a highly successful delivery team
  • Even an ambitious and sustainably driven Council such as Oxford identified real gaps in its skills and resources to deliver a project of this complexity
  • ESO drove changes to the regulations for connecting to the National Grid to enable projects such as transmission-connected EV charging, and for changes to metering by electricity supply companies

Oxford City Council fleet electrification

ODS depots around Oxford

  • Replacement of 40 of the Council’s fleet of 340 vehicles with electric vehicles, including cars, vans, tippers, sweepers and Oxford’s first electric refuse vehicle
  • Installation of 38 charge points to support the fleet in Council depots and staff homes
  • A new EV portal for Oxford DirectServices and the Council to manage their EV fleet, provide data on carbon and cost savings, and inform future EV fleet migration
  • Savings of 123 tonnes of CO2 per annum in the first two years of operation
  • Clarity of future fleet depot strategy is crucial at the outset, and requires full local authority executive buy-in at the earliest possible stage
  • Smaller vehicles are the easiest to migrate. Larger vehicles/HGVs will be a far greater challenge for local authorities UK-wide
  • Implications of introducing home charging require careful management and employee engagement is key

Electric taxis

Oxford City Centre taxi rank

  • Ran a successful ‘try before you buy’ scheme offering local hackney cab drivers the opportunity to try two different electric taxis
  • Migration of 22 of the 106 Oxford Taxi drivers to electric vehicles through the scheme and the offer of a £5k grant
  • Positive engagement of the Oxford taxi community with the city’s Net zero aims
  • Early preparation of the taxi fleet for the upcoming Oxford 2025 Zero emission taxi regulations
  • Strong preference among taxi drivers for the London type Taxi cab
  • Covid was a major shock for the sector and massively undermined drivers’ business and hence appetite for changing vehicles

Renewable heating in homes

Blackbird Leys

  • Installed a network of shared ground source heating infrastructure to heat 57 social housing residences in the city
  • Ran ‘load shifting’ trials to demonstrate the benefits of smart controls and time of use tariffs, exploring the value of flexibility in domestic heating
  • Demonstrated a new integrated heat pump with heat battery to further improve heating profiles
  • Demonstrated savings of up to 50% for the residents against their existing night storage systems
  • Shifting of heating load (flexibility) using the building fabric as storage can reduce the potential peak loads which UK-wide electrification of heat will create
  • Time of Use tariffs will be an essential part of achieving the benefits of deploying heat flexibility
  • Smart metering roll out must include prepayment meters, which are very common in social housing