Cologne, Germany-based Next Kraftwerke has partnered with electric vehicle smart charging platform provider Jedlix on a new pilot that will aggregate electric vehicle charging stations as a deployable demand response unit aka secondary control reserve (aFFR) on its Virtual Power Plant (VPP) platform. The pilot was tendered by the transmission system operator (TSO) TenneT to assess the viability of aggregated demand reserve using a handful of new technologies.
The 2-year pilot with Next Kraftwerke and Jedlix is set to kick off early next year, starting with Jedlix’s own fleet of electric vehicles coupled with the company’s smart charging solution. Jedlix is no stranger to providing out-of-the-box electric vehicle charging solutions and was tapped by Renault to power its smart e-mobility charging app after Renault bought a 25% stake in the company.
The pilot will pair Next Kraftwerke’s Next Box with the Jedlix smart chargers to give the Next Kraftwerke team the ability to remotely tap into the smart charging network and to remotely throttle charging up and down as required by the grid. The ability to throttle demand down can be used to offset sharp increases in electricity demand elsewhere on the grid, reducing or eliminating the need for utilities to spin up peaker plants or other generating units. Utilities compensate Next Kraftwerke for throttling demand, which is then passed along to customers.
On the customer side, Jedlix customers will have the new functionality added to their apps, which allows drivers to opt-in to the program and specify how much flexibility they want to offer. It is not clear if vehicle-to-grid functionality is included in the scope of the pilot but this would offer even more capacity to utilities, but at a greater cost to owners.
Update: Next Kraftwerke confirmed that the pilot solution is purely demand response, but that it is able to offer upward or downward reserve with deviations from the contracted charging schedule. For example, if the charging speed across the fleet was contracted to stay at 6kW for the fleet, that can be further scaled back to 5kW to effectively offer positive reserves.
“This pilot will bring essential innovation in the way electrical systems connected in private homes can contribute to TenneT’s most demanding ancillary services,” shared Paul Kreutzkamp, CEO Next Kraftwerke Belgium. “We are very happy to be starting this transition and bringing new sources of income to households together with Jedlix, which has set itself apart when it comes to smart charging of electric vehicles.”
The available capacity from all participating EV drivers is aggregated to offer a higher capacity, less variable demand response unit which is then folded into Next Kraftwerke’s Virtual Power Plant. Aggregating EVs into larger units allows Next Kraftwerke to maximize the benefit to the grid alongside the other demand response, energy storage and energy generation units it manages.
“We are thrilled to have this cooperation with Next Kraftwerke, which has the potential to establish the largest VPP for EVs in Europe and beyond,” Ruben Benders, CEO of Jedlix said. “This cooperation, along with our deep technical integration with an ever-growing amount of automotives and a smart charging solution via the connected car, ensures maximum value for the driver and allows every electric car to participate. Beyond that, our cooperation leads to a reliable and valuable contribution of electric vehicles to grid stabilization.”
We reached out to Next Kraftwerke for more details about the geography of the pilot and whether it is includes vehicle-to-grid functionality. We will update this article if and when we hear back.
Update: Next Kraftwerke confirmed that the pilot is exclusive to the service area of TenneT in the Netherlands. The company also confirmed that no additional hardware is needed for customers to participate. They simply need to sign onto the pilot and provide charging parameters that define how much flexibility they’re offering and Jedlix takes care of the rest.
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