Study finds vehicle-to-grid charging could boost energy storage

by Sophie Berrill
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Electric vehicle batteries alone could satisfy short-term grid storage demand by as early as 2030, according to a study published on 17 January 2023.

The research published in Nature Communications found that electric vehicle (EV) batteries could promote electricity grid stability via storage solutions from vehicle-to-grid and second-use applications.

What does vehicle-to-grid mean? 

Vehicle-to-grid or ‘V2G’ refers to the capability of EVs to connect to the grid. With bi-directional charging, drivers can charge their EV during the day and then discharge electricity back into the grid as required. 

This has the potential to “transform Australia’s energy system”, according to the Government. It does so by increasing the amount of distributed energy storage connected to the electricity grid, enhancing grid resilience and energy reliability and security. 

It could also benefit customers, systems operators, retailers and businesses, among others, with the potential to lower electricity bills.

Study findings

Harnessing V2G potential will have “critical implications for the energy transition”, the study says.

“The energy transition will require a rapid deployment of renewable energy (RE) and electric vehicles (EVs) where other transit modes are unavailable. EV batteries could complement RE generation by providing short-term grid services.” 

Looking at global data, the study found even low driver participation rates could still contribute significantly to grid stability.

“Overall, EV batteries could meet short-term grid storage demand by as early as 2030 if we assume lower storage requirements from the literature and higher levels of participation and utilisation. By 2040-2050 storage demands are met across almost all scenarios and even low participation and utilisation rates,” the study reads.

The authors also highlighted the important role governments can play in incentivising participation of EV users in the V2G market. 

“This can include market-based efforts such as micro-payments for services to the grid, or regulations to require the connection of commercial fleets to the network while at depots.” 

Vehicle-to-grid trials in Australia

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has been running the Realising Electric Vehicle-to-Grid Services trial since June 2020, with an end date of 15 March 2023. The trial seeks to unlock the economic and grid benefits of V2G services in Australia. 

To date, V2G technologies and services have been largely non-existent in the Australian market, according to the project.

South Australia Power Networks (SAPN) became the first electricity distributor in Australia to allow network connection of V2G EV chargers in December, running a pilot program using Nissan LEAF EVs.

According to a statement from Nissan in December, “securing required approvals nationally continues to be a work in progress”.

“Customers in South Australia can now apply to SAPN to install a Wallbox Quasar V2G unit in the same way they otherwise would for a new home solar or battery installation. JET Charge will be opening orders to South Australian customers in late January for the next shipment of Wallbox Quasar V2G chargers,” the statement says

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