Five electric vehicles take Islington town hall off grid

Matthew Waite, Honda; Chris Wright and Simon Daniel, Moixa; Cllr Rowena Champion

Islington Council can now run its town hall entirely off grid at peak times, using five Nissan ENV200 electric vans to provide power.

Under a trial with energy technology firm Moixa and Honda’s energy management arm, the council aims to work out how electric vehicle (EV) smart charging and vehicle-to-grid technology can cut carbon and cost, while improving air quality.

“We have declared a climate emergency. Decarbonisation of our own fleet is imperative to both climate change and air quality goals,” said councillor Rowena Champion. “This trial enables to make use of the greenest grid energy available and to build robust evidence to ensure best use of technology to reach a net zero future.”

Five 10kW bi-directional chargers have been installed as part of the trial. With five vans plugged in, the system is capable of powering the entire town hall, which draws roughly 50kW.

The aim is to load shift to help the council avoid peak network costs, and use power when it is least carbon intensive, while taking into account the differing needs of the local and national system.

Moixa chief technology officer, Chris Wright, said the company is in discussions with local grid operator, UK Power Networks, about providing constraint management services.

Moixa also has contracts with National Grid to provide short term operating reserve (Stor) services, and Wright said it could technically sell flexibility from the town hall into the balancing mechanism (BM) and provide frequency services – but is not yet doing so as part of this trial.

Wright said the council also gains resilience benefits – as particularly loud bands at the adjacent concert hall can sometimes cause power cuts.

As such, the system is also able to deliver “vehicle-to-party” services, he suggested.

Honda department manager for electrification and energy management, Matthew Waite, said the company would make further energy-related announcements later this year.

For now, he said the carmaker sees “an advantage point” from actively pushing into energy management, as are rivals including Volkswagen and Nissan.

“We do not just see ourselves as a mobility provider,” said Waite. “We are a tech provider as well.”

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