Vehicle to Grid Charging Explained

With the growth of electric vehicles on utilities, there is the possibility of extra strain on the available power. However, utilities may get some help from EVs and other renewable sources, sending stored power back to the grid.
Electricity pylons, integral to Vehicle to Grid Charging, silhouetted against a sunset sky.

Thinking about power in the future

What is Vehicle to Grid?

Essentially a way for all the electric vehicles to connect to utilities so they can all create a massive “battery” to help everyone out with all the excess capacity. The energy can be taken from all the cars and added back to the electric grid. (or any other renewable sources).

Benefits of VTG

Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), also known as Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) or Vehicle-to-Load (V2L), refers to plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) providing demand-response services to electric utilities. Demand service supplies power or reduces the charge rate. Demand services reduce the electric demand loads on utility power networks to produce more stable power with limited disruptions or load variants.

Stationary energy storage is becoming more common and is an important way of storing energy from large solar panels or solar power plants. (power walls and power system storage) Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) systems allow electric vehicles to sell demand response services to the grid, which can help reduce pressure on the grid during times of high demand.

Huge Pool of Resources in the Next Decade

Globally there will be 140-240 million electric vehicles by 2030. This means we’ll have at least 140 million tiny energy storages on wheels with an aggregated storage capacity of 7 TWh.

This type of setup uses bidirectional charging stations to supply or utilize energy to and from connected vehicles based on the demand for electricity at any given time. V2G is part of a larger initiative known as vehicle-grid integration. The excess energy can be used to power houses, buildings and ultimately anything connected to the power grid.

Although the fundamental idea of V2G charging sounds straightforward, executing it requires a complex suite of smart technology. Electric vehicle charging stations must be equipped with software that communicates with the central grid to assess overall system demand at any given time.

Application software is developed using simple technology that has been around for a while now — think about the power companies offering off-peak usage rates for years. However, V2G tech moves beyond merely assessing peak demand and encouraging consumption at off-peak hours to actually drawing in additional power from connected vehicles when needed.  On-demand power is highly available and collected at the most efficient times of the day.

Why is it important

Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar play a critical role in any sustainable energy strategy. However, it is these sources that are intermittent and inconsistent. Therefore, an efficient power grid must be able to capture energy from those sources when available and then store it for distribution when needed.

While existing systems can store renewable energy as it is produced, a surge in energy, for instance, high winds, can mean that the system storage capacity has been fully utilized, thus missing out on invaluable energy collected. Extended storage through connected EV batteries provides more room to capture this valuable energy.

All of the above benefits lead to another: cost stability. Much of the price volatility for utilities comes down to simple supply and demand. The more strain there is on the system, the more it can drive up costs. When the energy supply is better able to balance and meet demand, it creates price stability.

Conclusion

So VTG is a win, win, win win. Power is collected, stored efficiently then distributed to provide stable accessible lower-cost power.

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