AGL and ARENA launch $8 million EV smart charging trial

AGL and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) have announced the launch of an $8 million trial that will assess the impact of electric vehicle (EV) charging on Australia’s electricity grid.

Coordinated by AGL Next, AGL’s newly established home of innovation, the trial will determine the peak periods of electricity usage and avoid congestion of the power grid by dispersing EV charging times throughout the day.

Through examination of the key sources of uncertainty, and informing retailers and individuals of the benefits, the project aims to accelerate the commercialisation of EV charging.

The project will involve 300 EV owners as participants, 250 of whom will receive smart charging software or vehicle-to-grid (V2G) systems installed in their households.

The trial will mark the first time in Australia that V2G will be deployed in a residential context, giving individuals the capacity to charge their EV as well as discharge excess energy back to the grid.

“AGL’s Virtual Power Plant, which consists of household batteries providing energy when the grid needs it, such as on hot summer days, is being expanded with this trial to include EVs, which are essentially batteries on wheels,” reports Dominique Van Den Berg, General Manager of AGL Decentralised Energy Resources.

“This trial will demonstrate how we create value using customers’ distributed energy assets like batteries and share the value with customers.”

Over the three-year period, AGL will contribute $5.3 million, together with ARENA’s $2.9 million.

“AGL is investing in renewable and flexible generation supported by storage technology including residential batteries and grid-scale batteries that provide firm capacity for our transition from coal to renewable energy,” Ms Van Den Berg said.

A range of distribution networks will also be involved in the program including Ausgrid, Ausnet Services, Endeavour Australia, Energy Queensland, Jemena, United Energy and SA Power Networks. As well as project partners JET Charge, Chargefox and FlexCharging.

Darren Miller, ARENA CEO has said that trials like this allow EVs to benefit the wider electricity system and would support the integration of EVs into the system as uptake increased.

“As the penetration of EVs increases it will be important to manage and orchestrate the charging of vehicles, to avoid potentially costly impacts on peak demand, associated network charges and grid security issues”, Mr Miller said.

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19 November 2020

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