Exploiting Electric Vehicles as Storage on the Electricity Grid
A major challenge in introducing significant proportions of new renewable energy sources into the electricity grid (eg wind, tidal, solar) is the non-dispatchable nature of theses sources – the supply of electricity cannot be easily matched to the demand, resulting in spillage when supply exceeds demand, and requiring alternative back-up generation capacity when demand exceeds supply.The V2G concept is that if there are sufficient electric vehicles in the country’s vehicle fleet, then these can be connected to the grid whenever they are not being driven (statistics show this to be typically 96% of the time for personal vehicles), both to charge their batteries, and to exploit their batteries as storage on the grid.
A fine-grained simulation of the NZ electricity grid has been developed, including up to 1 million individual electric vehicles. The research has shown that using this technique, with EVs accounting for 40% of New Zealand’s road vehicle fleet, up to 50% of the electricity generation could be non-dispatchable (wind, solar, etc), with very little spillage, only small back-up requirements, and with almost zero cost for the electricity supplied to the vehicle fleet.
To achieve this level (40%) of EV penetration in the vehicle fleet may require interventions, but much may be achieved through experience and education. Another facet of this project is the development of a virtual EV experience, a game-like app for mobile devices enabling drivers to match their real fossil-fuel vehicle activity with a virtual EV, so dispelling some of the myths and fears surrounding the technology.