Published on May 1st, 2013 | by Andrew


eV2g Marks Milestone, Selling Electricity From EV Test Fleet To PJM Grid

May 1st, 2013 by  

Photo credit: University of Delaware

Photo Credit: University of Delaware

A distributed power-clean energy milestone was reached late last week as leaders from government and industry joined members of the eV2G project to celebrate the first instance of electric vehicle-to-grid (EV2G) technology being used to sell electricity to the power grid.

Launched in September 2011 by the University of Delaware and NRG, the eV2g project has been selling electricity from a commercial test fleet of EVs to the grid since February 27, when it became an official participant in regional grid operator PJM Interconnection’s frequency regulation market.

EV Batteries as Storage, Grid Stabilizers In the Drive to Distributed, Green Energy

The technology developed by the eV2g project team establishes a two-way connection between EVs and the PJM power grid, enabling EVs to supply electricity to, as well as draw it from, the grid. The ability of the technology to aggregate electricity from multiple EVs to create a single power source is a key aspect of the technology, e2Vg elaborated in a press release.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell highlighted the significance of the eV2g project and its success to date:

Moving innovative ideas out of the classroom and into the marketplace is critical to growing our economy. The partnership between NRG and University of Delaware perfectly illustrates the potential for research institutions to spur economic development.

Added NRG executive vice president Denise Wilson, who leads NRG’s emerging business ventures:

This demonstrates that EVs can provide both mobility and stationary power while helping making the grid more resilient and ultimately generating revenue for electric vehicle owners.

The advancement also proves the power of partnerships such as these to accelerate the development of clean energy technologies that will deliver for the economy, consumers, security and sustainability.

Joining the University of Delaware and NRG in the eV2g project, BMW AG provides the EVs, Milbank Manufacturing is providing the EV charging stations which are based on UD (University of Delaware) technology, and AutoPort is installing UD control technology into the EVs.

Scalable, Cost-Effective Storage: The Green Energy Missing Link

Lack of cost-effective storage capacity remains the “missing link” in the renewable energy equation, a critical and pivotal linchpin in the drive toward a green, distributed energy infrastructure, economy, and society. Hence, tapping into the energy stored in a critical mass of EV batteries is a “Holy Grail” of sorts in the EV2G and broader clean, distributed energy movement.

According to eV2g:

For grid operators, the technology serves as an innovative new approach to energy storage. It has the potential to balance the power provided by intermittent renewable resources such as wind and solar. Energy storage, such as large-scale batteries or those in a fleet of vehicles, can take the wind’s power generated at night and store it to use when demand is higher.

PJM operates a neutral, competitive wholesale electricity market and manages the flow of a high-voltage electricity grid that meets the needs of more than 60 million people across the District of Columbia and all or part 13 states – Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Demand and supply of wholesale electricity across PJM’s grid is balanced on a second-by-second basis via the frequency regulation market, which the University of Delaware-NRG eV2g fleet is contributing.

Introduction of eV2g’s technology also required some adjustment on PJM’s part.

“PJM changed rules for participation in the regulation service market to decrease the minimum amount of power needed to participate and we implemented new rules that recognize and compensate faster, more accurately responding resources, such as batteries,” vice president of operations Michael J. Kormos explained.

We knew that by doing so would attract innovation and would find potential for energy storage or other technologies. We’re glad to be a part of this project and hope that this inspires continued innovation among our partners and others in the industry. [sic]

Though still in development and not yet ready for prime-time commercial use, the eV2g project team envisages commercial EV fleet owners as prospective early adopters, enabling them to earn revenue while their EV fleets aren’t on the road. Further on down the road, eV2g members foresee the technology being used by individual EV owners.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.

  • I think it would be much better to focus on a market for used EV batteries. Cars demand the highest performance of batteries. After 5 years or so an EV owner may want to upgrade to the latest and greatest. Meanwhile their used battery may have decades of useful life to which it can serve for backup stationary storage. I don’t see the need to put the battery to dual purpose in its most valuable years of life. We need to take a lifecycle view of EV batteries.

    • This can be done until used EV batteries eventually become available, but right now, most electric vehicles are still new.

      We would literally have to wait until everyone starts replacing their EV batteries before we could put them to use on the grid, but yes, you made a very good point.

      The use of used EV batteries is a great idea, better than V2G.

  • Bob_Wallace

    My guess is that this is likely to be a small part of our overall storage solution, at best.

    Utilities don’t have the same sort of size/weight limitations faced by EV battery applications. They will probably be able to use much cheaper flow or liquid metal batteries. And keep the profits they’d have to pay to EV owners.

    Then, assuming solar whacks the midday peak and leaves us with early/late peaks like is happening in Germany, lots of those EVs would be unplugged when their stored power is most needed.

    • yep, americans cannot comprehend the near future solar economy, because most of the americans still think that roof-top solar is too expensive and can only happen with huge subsidies and will always be that way. However the price of solar is getting 20 % cheaper annually, so it takes just few years that roof-top solar is too cheap to meter.

  • Just text your car telling it you are leaving in ten minutes, and it will top itself off…

    • Bob_Wallace

      Most likely drivers would only rent their “surplus range”. If you’ve got a 100 mile range EV and a daily 20 mile commute you might off your last 50 miles up for rental. You might rent out more or less storage on weekends, depending on your lifestyle.

      You’d be able to set a buffer of x miles over your normal driving. You could reset the limit via phone/computer if you changed your next day plans.

      The amount paid by the utility should more than cover the cost of getting a rapid charge once in a while. If the owner doesn’t feel that they are making enough money for the inconvenience then they won’t sign up.

  • I think that this is the most stupid article that has ever appeared in Clean Technica. EV to Grid is the most ridiculous idea that has ever presented.

    If EV batteries are assumed to be so darn cheap in some awkward distant future that selling electricity back to the grid is justified economically, then for sure households should buy an electric vehicle AND this ultra super duper cheap battery.

    That is because selling electricity back to grid from the EV is redusing the value and range of the car.

    • Bob_Wallace

      If the car owner receives payments which exceed their costs (decreased battery life) plus some profit and the utility finds this cheaper than purchasing storage where is the stupidity?

      • The cost of EV electricity storage is directly some $500 per MWh + the reduced value of vehicle. It is not funny that your EV travels only 400 km where it suppose to go 500 km with that milage driven.

        There is the problem with mathematics that does not add up. One MWh electricity needs 10–20 cycles that is wasted for electricity to grid. And if you are making $20 profit by selling 1 MWh electricity back to the grid, this just is not very much if your capital cost for EV battery was $50 000.

        The value of single 100 kWh EV battery is just $10 000 if you are planning to sell all the cycles back to the grid. And this does not leave any cycles for actual driving.

        Selling electricity back to the grid is just silly concept, because grid as a whole is silly and old fashioned way to distribute electricity. It is always better to store the electricity locally than to sell it back to the grid.

        Battery storage for PV electricity is already cheapest way to get electricity in Germany and Australia. There is just no need for EVs to meddle around.

        However EVs are very good at smart charging, that they are charged (fully) only when sun is shining and wind is blowing or night time when the demand for electricity is low.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I can make up another set of numbers that show that one could become a billionaire by renting out their spare capacity.

          That would be just as reliable as the set of numbers you made up. As is your claim that the grid is silly.

      • I think that this EV2G movent represents the general American thinking that lacks the perspective for the potential of solar power. Germany is already building over 100 GW roof-top solar power by 2020. As the day time electricity demand is just 60 GW, grid is mostly saturated by solar during summer day times.

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