Wednesday, 08 July 2020 07:45

ACT to run world-leading electric vehicle to grid trial

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The Nissan Leaf. The Nissan Leaf. Courtesy Blackburn Nissan

The Australian Government has funded the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to the tune of $2.4 million to run a vehicle-to-grid trial in Canberra, using 51 Nissan Leaf electric vehicles.

The Realising Electric Vehicle-to-Grid Services trial will be conducted by ActewAGL. The EVs will be able to discharge electricity back to the grid or provide services to improve grid security and will finally become part of the ACT Government fleet. When plugged in, they will offer Frequency Control Ancillary Services to the National Electricity Market, a statement from ARENA said.

FCAS is usually provided by coal, gas and hydro-electric power stations and more recently batteries, and is used by the Australian Energy Market Operator to maintain the frequency of the electrical system and provide a fast energy injection or reduction for grid stability.

The project is the first to see a fleet using bi-directional chargers supplying FCAS to the NEM and provide services that improve energy security and avoid blackouts.

It is also the first time an EV fleet would be paid for providing electricity services and testing new revenue streams that could improve the total cost of ownership of EVs.

Fleets make up more than half of all new vehicles sold annually in Australia and the trial will help inform future procurement choices of private and public sector fleet managers.

nissan fleet

The Nissan electric vehicles that will be used in the trial. Courtesy ARENA

The 51 Leaf EVs will replace traditional combustion-engine vehicles used for work around the ACT and will be used normally during business hours, but will be plugged in when not on the road. This will mean about 70% availability for providing grid services.

ARENA chief executive Darren Miller said the trial was an important first step in demonstrating how EVs could support the grid.

"ARENA is focused on commercialising technologies than can aid the integration of EVs into the electricity system," he said. "Given its potential capability to provide similar services as household batteries, V2G has the opportunity to transform a vehicle into a revenue-generating device for consumers, through access to energy and network service markets and also to provide power solutions for the grid.

"As EV uptake grows, this project will help to unlock a future where they are just as critical a piece of the electricity sector as the transport sector.

"The REVS project will also include a major study of the economic, electrical and behavioural learnings of V2G arising from the trial. Using these outcomes, international learnings and new analysis, the ANU will produce a V2G roadmap for Australia highlighting the potential of V2G and possible steps to get there."

ActewAGL's group manager of Product and Strategic Energy Deployments, Todd Eagles, said: "What's unique about the REVS project is that we have valuable contributions from across the electricity and transport supply chains.

"It's a powerful collective of stakeholders invested in supporting the uptake of renewables through vehicle-to-grid capabilities, which have an important role to play in ensuring the resilience and reliability of our energy system.

"Owners of electric vehicles can also benefit from financial incentives as a result of their electric vehicles being able to facilitate the two-way flow of energy, thereby reducing their overall vehicle costs. By focussing on fleets in the first instance, which make up around half of all new cars purchased in Australia, we'll demonstrate the ability to scale these capabilities for shared value across the energy system and for vehicle owners."


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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