The Power of Smart Charging and V2X in Sustainable Energy Networks
July 13, 2023
In our last “We Speak Energy” article, we discussed the Energy Economy and the role of the commercial impact of electric grid transformation. To meet EV charging needs, utilities, fleet operators, and charging providers are investing in the development of charging infrastructure, including fast-charging stations along highways and in cities, as well as home charging stations. This requires upgrades to the electric grid infrastructure, including increased capacity and reliability, and integration of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.
The use of smart charging technology, which can help manage the load on the grid by charging EVs during off-peak hours or when there is excess renewable energy available, can help reduce the need for costly upgrades to the grid infrastructure.
V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything) technology refers to the capability of electric vehicles (EVs) to not only charge from the grid, but also to discharge energy back to the grid or to other devices. The impact of V2X on the electric grid depends on several factors.
One potential benefit of V2X is that it can help to balance the supply and demand of electricity on the grid. EVs with V2X technology can be charged during off-peak hours, when demand for electricity is lower, and then discharge energy back to the grid during times of peak demand, helping to smooth out fluctuations in demand.
A study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that the economic benefit of V2G can reach thousands of dollars per vehicle per year for voltage regulation applications. This same study found that school buses can reach as much as $17 thousand per year per bus.
Additionally, V2X can help EV owners maintain electric service through Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) and Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) technologies.
V2H technology enables EVs to serve as backup power sources for homes during power outages or other emergencies. The vehicle's battery can power the home's electrical needs, such as lights, appliances, and HVAC systems, for a limited time. This can be particularly valuable in areas prone to power outages or during natural disasters, as it provides a reliable source of backup power. V2H benefits EV owners beyond resiliency. Research suggests that V2H could save homeowners anywhere from $100 to $400 per year, depending on factors such as electricity rates, battery size, and how often the system is used.
V2L technology allows EVs to power other electrical devices or equipment, such as tools, laptops, or camping gear. By using the EV battery to power these devices, the owner can reduce their reliance on grid electricity and increase their overall energy independence.
The coordination of EV chargers, local PV, and battery storage are essential for the large-scale adoption of intelligent charging infrastructure and V2X for several reasons:
1. Efficient use of renewable energy: The combination of local PV and battery storage can help reduce dependence on the grid and increase the use of renewable energy sources. By storing excess energy generated by solar panels during the day, battery storage can provide electricity to EV chargers during peak demand periods, reducing the need for electricity from the grid.
2. Cost savings: By using locally generated energy to power EV charging stations, the cost of electricity is reduced, resulting in cost savings for EV owners and operators.
3. Grid stabilization: The integration of battery storage with EV charging infrastructure can help stabilize the grid during times of high demand by providing additional power to the grid, reducing the need for peaker plants and improving grid resiliency.
4. V2X capabilities: Intelligent charging infrastructure can allow EVs to communicate with the grid and provide ancillary services such as frequency regulation and grid balancing. This can be especially valuable during times of peak demand or when there is a shortage of power on the grid.
Overall, the coordination of EV chargers, local PV, and battery storage is critical for the widespread adoption of intelligent charging infrastructure and V2X. It can improve the efficiency, resiliency, and sustainability of the electric grid while providing cost savings and other economic benefits for EV owners and operators.
It is critical that that the systems used to coordinate traditional electric grid devices such as PV, battery storage, HVAC, etc. and transportation devices such as EVs, chargers, etc. do not diverge. The approach to this coordination must be grid-native, multi-asset, scalable, secure, and based on open international communication standards.
Grid-Native refers to a system that can control and monitor important device characteristics such as output power, power factor, voltage and frequency ride through, frequency response and more. Such a system must use a language to describe this information deterministically and unambiguously.
Multi-Asset refers to a system that harmoniously controls and monitors all DERs including traditional electric grid devices and devices more associated with electric transportation.
A scalable system is one where intelligence can be partitioned to the device as well as centrally. Devices can respond to coordination controls directly, or by monitoring grid aspects such as voltage, frequency, and price signals. Systems such as this do not completely rely on low latency and high available communications, particularly when the combined electric grid and transportation ecosystem will consist of hundreds of millions of devices.
Systems used for this coordination must be based on open and international communication standards. Open standards that have been subjected to a rigorous cybersecurity review, such as those in the SGIP catalog of standards reduce the threat of attacks on the electric grid and transportation sector. Open standards also minimize the likelihood of stranded assets when a private company changes business direction or ceases to operate. Finally, open and international standards subject compliant products and services to rigorous certification and interoperability testing, ensuring a rich constellation of suppliers, products and services.
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) report “Electric Vehicle Dynamic Charging Performance Characteristics during Bulk Power System Disturbances” provides a set of recommended characteristics for “grid friendly” coordination systems for the electric grid and transportation ecosystems. NERC’s “grid friendly” recommendations are synonymous with the grid-native coordination system outlined above.
At Kitu Systems, we believe that the future of energy lies in the ability to connect and coordinate a wide range of distributed energy resources (DERs), including solar PV, battery storage, electric vehicles (EVs), and more. Our Grid Action Platform™ (GAP) is the backbone of this vision, providing an end-to-end and secure open-standards-compliant solution for utilities and aggregators to operate millions of assets on a single platform.
With GAP, utilities, service providers and automotive OEMs can participate in energy markets, generating revenue by providing grid support services when needed. Service providers can offer new, value-added services to their customers, unlocking new revenue streams and improving customer satisfaction. And auto OEMs can leverage GAP to build out EV charging infrastructure and enable vehicle-to-home (V2H) capabilities, unlocking additional revenue streams and cost savings for consumers.
By providing grid-native end-to-end communication and coordination of DERs, GAP creates new energy networks that are intelligent, resilient, adaptive, efficient, scalable, and secure. But the commercial benefits of GAP are just as compelling, making it a smart business decision for utilities, service providers, and auto OEMs alike.
Overall, the transformation of the electric grid and transportation represents a major shift in the global economy. The combined energy related revenue for these two industries is over $1 Trillion per year in the US. Integrating these two systems will require significant investment, innovation, and collaboration, but it also can create a more sustainable and efficient energy and transportation system for the future.
At Kitu Systems, we are proud to say that we speak energy. Our GAP platform enables communication and coordination of assets, allowing for the development of intelligent, resilient, adaptive, efficient, scalable, and secure energy networks. As the energy landscape continues to evolve, Kitu Systems' GAP platform will remain at the forefront of intelligent energy connectivity, providing utilities and aggregators with the tools they need to successfully manage the complexities of the modern energy grid.
Author: Rick Kornfeld, President and Chief Executive Officer of Kitu Systems
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