AGL and ARENA to conduct first trial using EVs to power homes

The Driven

Major utility AGL, backed by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, is to conduct a series of electric vehicle charging trials, including the first to use privately owned EVs to power homes and put energy back into the grid.

The $8.25 million three-year program, due to start next year, will involve up to 300 electric vehicle owners in a series of different trials, and will feature several firsts for Australia.

The project will be the first time vehicle-to-grid EVs will be deployed in a residential context in Australia, the two organisations say. It will also be the first time smart charging has been deployed in Australia by a utility via software, potentially removing the need for additional smart charging hardware in the future.

A total of 200 smart charges (worth $2,500 each) will be installed at EV owners’ homes, where they will be remotely monitored and controlled to help move charging to off-peak times when cheap renewable energy is available or to respond to constraints on the grid.

Another 50 EV owners (Tesla cars only) will use a software based smart charging trial to test the ability of EV charging to be controlled by communicating directly with the car without the need for separate smart charging hardware.

And another 50  EVs (Nissan Leafs only) will participate in a vehicle to grid (V2G) trial – receiving bi-directional chargers at a discounted price to assess the ability and commerciality of EVs to become a source of energy storage and provide energy back to the grid when required.

AGL’s head of decentralised energy resources Dominique Van Den Berg says this will be the first time in Australia that people could use their EVs to power their houses and export excess energy to the grid.

“This trial will demonstrate how we create value using customers’ distributed energy assets like batteries and share the value with them,” she said. “Although the trial is limited to 300 customers, it will help us to shape future energy offers to EV owners.”

It is also part of AGL’s plans to harness up to 350MW of distributed assets such as home batteries and EVs by 2024, compred with 72MW now. All up, including big batteries, AGL plans to deploy 1200MW of battery capacity (with various lengths of storage), inlcuding its newly announced 250MW big battery in South Australia with up to four hours of storage.

To read the full story on RenewEconomy’s electric vehicle dedicated site The Driven, click here…

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