Federal Government supports innovative new vehicle-to-grid energy trial

A $6.6 million trial to test the potential for electric vehicles (EVs) to be used as mobile batteries has been given the green light in Canberra, with the Federal Government kicking in $2.4 million in funding through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to get the trial underway.

With the Government looking to support green and renewable energy technology to promote the uptake of EVs around the country, the latest grant will be used to explore whether EV batteries can viably store electricity and provide it to the grid when required.

Led by Canberra energy provider ActewAGL, the trial will involve 51 EVs, including 50 ACT Government fleet Nissan Leaf’s, providing Frequency Control Ancillary Services to the National Electricity Market.

The 51 vehicles will be used for normal daily operations, before being plugged into the grid when not in use to provide stored electricity.

To support the return of electricity from the batteries to the grid, the ARENA grant will fund the installation of 51 bi-directional charging stations. These innovative charging stations differ from standard EV chargers as they allow electricity to travel both ways, from the grid to the vehicle or from the vehicle to the grid, allowing EV batteries to be used as storage devices in addition to providing power to the vehicle.

The grant money will also fund three full-time research positions at the Australian National University to study and improve the technology.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said this trial was important in establishing whether EV technology could be used to stabilize the grid during peak times, solving an issue that has plagued the Australian Electricity network for some time.

“The Government’s role is to support consumer choice for future fuel technologies and back new technologies through trials like this,” said Minister Taylor. “These projects will help those Australian motorists who choose to drive an electric vehicle to do so.

“This trial will be important to prove the benefits of vehicle-to-grid technology, to see if EVs can provide an energy security role and extra energy to the grid at times of peak demand.”

Along with the ACT and Federal Government’s, ActewAGL will also work with academic and transport partners across the duration of the trial, such as JET Charge, Evoenergy, SG Fleet and Nissan.

Source: Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

9 July 2020

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