California ISO Urges Electricity Conservation

Midsummer’s Day is a few days away, and on the west coast of the United States things are heating up. Here is the surface temperature map for the western USA yesterday afternoon:

Those sort of temperatures mean that lots of air conditioning units are working hard, and consequently the California Independent System Operator (CAISO for short) called for a voluntary “Flex Alert” yesterday, in order to persuade its customers to voluntarily reduce electricity demand:

The desired aim seems to have been achieved, with the evening demand peak having been “shaved” somewhat, and with last year’s rolling blackouts averted so far in 2021:

Here’s how the differing sources of electricity supply coped:

Here’s an expanded view of the contribution of the ever expanding amount Californian battery storage to electricity supply during the evening demand peak:

The California heat wave is forecast to continue today, as is another high peak in demand:

And so:

According to the California ISO news release:

Consumers are asked to conserve energy tonight and tomorrow evening by:

  • Setting thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, if health permits
  • Avoiding using major appliances
  • Turning off all unnecessary lights Consumers are also encouraged to use fans for cooling, and to unplug unused electrical items.

To be as comfortable as possible during the Flex Alert hours, consumers can take these steps earlier in the day:

  • Pre-cool your home by lowering the thermostat
  • Use major appliances, like your dishwasher, and clothes washer and dryer
  • Close window coverings to keep your home or apartment cool
  • Charge electronic devices
  • Charge electric vehicles

The ISO is continuing to monitor weather and grid conditions and will have additional announcements as information becomes available.

The 2021 G7 Summit in Cornwall

The forthcoming summit of the G7 nations is taking place just down the road from the V2G UK office in North Cornwall. According to the G7 UK web site:

In June, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will welcome fellow G7 leaders to one of the most beautiful parts of the UK: Carbis Bay in Cornwall.

Other parts of the region will also play a key role in the Summit, including neighbouring St Ives, Falmouth and Newquay airport.

With over 400 miles of coastline, Cornwall’s stunning landscape provides a perfect setting for world leaders to come together and discuss how to respond to global challenges like coronavirus and climate change.

Here’s one of my recent pictures of some of that coastline, including part of Cornwall’s industrial heritage and some large waves!

Climate change is top of the G7 agenda along with Covid-19, and that must mean that UK and global energy policy will be somewhere very near the top as well. Obviously I’ll be reporting on what transpires in Carbis Bay in a month’s time, but for now here’s some topical G7 “tech” news:

Continue reading

5 Spots Left on Octopus Powerloop V2G Trial

The introduction to a recent article on the Octopus Electric Vehicles blog about their Powerloop vehicle-to-grid trial reads as follows:

Powerloop is providing a crucial insight into the viability of Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), as well as helping improve the customer experience for the installation of other smart technologies. The project is run by Octopus Electric Vehicles in partnership with UK Power Networks, Energy Saving Trust, ENGIE EV Solutions, Open Energi, Guidehouse and our sister company, Octopus Energy, Here, we discuss how Powerloop works, why V2G is so important, and how learnings from this project are helping UK Power Networks improve the broader smart technology onboarding process!

What is V2G?

Put simply, V2G enables an electric vehicle (EV) owner to be both the generator and the consumer of energy, using bi-directional charging technology to allow the user to charge and discharge their EV. This means that, unlike household appliances that can only receive energy, such as a kettle, the car’s battery becomes an energy asset that can transfer energy back to the grid.

However our readers located in UK Power Networks’ service area might be most interested in the following exciting information?

Powerloop is V2G in action, and is still open to new participants (just five spots remain!). Combining the Nissan LEAF with the Wallbox Quasar V2G charger, Powerloop is gathering real world data to help show how V2G can be a valuable asset to the UK’s energy network by helping flatten peak grid demand and making the most of renewable energy whilst using an EV.

By all means read the Octopus article in full, but if you want one of the last available chances to get a Wallbox Quasar on your own wall as part of the Powerloop V2G trial get in touch with Octopus PDQ!

Volkswagen’s V2G Vision

Back in March 2019 I was in Amsterdam to watch Volkswagen’s Martin Römheld give the final keynote speech at the rEVolution conference:

Amongst many other things he said that:

For VW I can tell you, and I think you can read that from the papers and the news currently they’re really doing a paradigm shift. The top management is really turning around the company big time.

and then went on to outline VW’s ID series of electric vehicles:

Volkswagen ID.4 1ST Max

At the rEVolution after party I asked Martin whether Volkswagen had any ambitions by way of bidirectional power transfer. He dropped a heavy hint, but I was of course sworn to secrecy. Now at long last VW Development Board Member Thomas Ulbrich has revealed much more about those ambitions in an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt. I’ve been hoping for a definitive English language version to appear, but no such luck. Hence what follows is aided by Google Translate.

According to Handelsblatt:

In order for a fleet of millions of EVs to be used as a new, flexible energy storage facility, electric cars must also be able to return the electricity to the grid at any time – they must be designed to be “bidirectional”. The VW group will be the first major manufacturer to start doing so next year.

I assume Handelsblatt must actually mean “the first major German manufacturer”, since on this side of the North Sea Japanese EV OEM Nissan certainly count as “major”, and they’ve been offering V2G capable vehicles for quite some time! Moving on we are told:

From 2022 onwards, every electric car from the Volkswagen Group that is based on the MEB (“Modularer E-Antriebs-Baukasten” but “modular electrification kit” according to Google) electrical platform can not only be charged with electricity but also return it to the grid. In addition to VW, the MEB is also used by the sister brands Audi , Skoda and Seat-Cupra.

The first generation of MEB models that Volkswagen has been delivering since autumn last year is not yet designed to be bidirectional. These cars can only charge. Volkswagen will be able to retrofit V2G to those cars with comparatively few technical changes and additional software.

Production should begin in December, and the bidirectional electric cars will go on sale after the turn of the year. At least 300,000 vehicles are likely to be manufactured at the VW plant in Zwickau alone in 2022.

Nissan does then get a mention, albeit a rather Deutschland centric one:

Nissan’s e-models have been able to charge bidirectionally as a standard feature since 2013. “The fact that this ability has not yet been exploited is solely due to the lack of relevant functions in the current charging stations,” said a Nissan spokeswoman.

But if the European industry leader opts for bidirectionality, then many other competitors will have to follow suit for competitive reasons alone. “Volkswagen is setting things in motion”, says Stefan Bratzel, professor at the Center of Automotive Management (CAM) at the Bergisch Gladbach University of Applied Sciences.

Other automakers are likely to present similar offers for the foreseeable future. Hyundai from Korea has already made a corresponding announcement.

We have recently covered that Hyundai V2x announcement in detail, and I have to say that I very much look forward to a wide variety of VW’s competitors shipping hundreds of thousands of V2G enabled electric vehicles beginning in 2022 or shortly thereafter.

However there remains the issue of that unfortunate “lack of relevant functions in the current charging stations”. Currently installed V2G capable charging stations use the Japanese CHAdeMO system, and even Nissan’s new Ariya EV has dropped that way of doing things here in Europe. Hence I cannot help but wonder how hundreds of thousands of VW MEB/ID compatible bidirectional charging stations are suddenly going to spring up along the highways and byways of Europe. And the United Kingdom too of course.

In conclusion, here is an infographic from Volkswagen’s current Energy Storage FAQ:

For some strange reason it bears a striking resemblance to our SaMDES banner at the top of this article. However in VW’s V2G vision the EV is outside the garage rather than inside!

Global Power System Transformation Consortium Announced

Imperial College announced in a news release yesterday that:

US and UK ministers launch a global effort – which features Imperial expertise – to speed up the energy transition.

An innovative public-private partnership to accelerate the clean energy transition by transforming our power systems has been formally launched, ahead of US President Joe Biden’s Earth Day climate summit.

The Global Power System Transformation Consortium (G-PST), which includes technical expertise from Imperial, was officially launched by the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kwasi Kwarteng and US Secretary of the Department of Energy Jennifer Granholm, alongside CEOs of power system operators and institutions from around the world.

G-PST aims to enable the integration of renewable energy sources into power systems at an unprecedented scope and scale, contributing to a 50 per cent reduction in emissions of all pollutants over the next ten years.

The Global PST Consortium Action Areas

Kwasi Kwarteng pointed out that:

Tackling climate change requires international cooperation and if we want to successfully achieve cost-efficient, green energy networks that work for everyone, we need to work together.

As a world leader in both technological innovation and the renewable energy market, I am delighted that the UK is co-hosting the launch of this new consortium, uniting the very best of business, research and academia to bring world-class renewable energy to the grid – key for economic growth, job creation, the climate and building back greener.

Unfortunately Kwasi didn’t go into detail about exactly how “building back greener” would “bring world-class renewable energy to the grid “, desirable as that undoubtedly is.

However some academics and engineers are members of the Global PST Consortium:

Continue reading

Hyundai Announce V2B Partnership with We Drive Solar

The press release is in Dutch, so I’m relying on Google Translate somewhat for this article! There is no explicit mention of V2x technology, but lets read between the lines:

Hyundai and mobility provider We Drive Solar announced on April 13th a strategic partnership to provide housing projects with the energy system of the future.

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a hint of vehicle-to-building already. Moving on:

Hyundai is well on its way to becoming a top 3 manufacturer of zero-emission vehicles worldwide, with a specific focus on 100% electric propulsion. By 2040, Hyundai aims to have its global car line-up fully electrified, aiming for a market share of 8 to 10 percent of the global EV market.

In addition to a leading role in electric driving, Hyundai also wants to accelerate the transition to sustainable mobility and optimally unburden customers with the help of innovative services, fully in line with the brand’s Progress for Humanity philosophy. In that context, Hyundai is expanding its e-mobility activities in the Netherlands significantly this year. Hyundai recently announced its partnership with Jedlix, the market leader in smart charging. Starting today, Hyundai is adding a new chapter in accelerating sustainable mobility by announcing its partnership with We Drive Solar.

Smart charging, sometimes referred to as V1G, is part of the equation but what about smart discharging? The press release continues:

Continue reading

National Grid Acquires Western Power

In a press release on March 18th National Grid announced:

National Grid plc today announces that it has agreed to acquire PPL WPD Investments Limited, the holding company of Western Power Distribution (WPD), the UK’s largest electricity distribution business, from PPL WPD Limited, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation for an equity value of £7.8 billion and National Grid has agreed to sell The Narragansett Electric Company (NECO) to PPL Energy Holdings, LLC, also a subsidiary of PPL, for an equity value of US$3.8 billion (£2.7 billion).

In addition, National Grid announces that it will commence a process later this year for the sale of a majority stake in National Grid Gas plc, the owner of the national gas transmission system.

As is the way with such things, this is not all signed, sealed and delivered just yet:

Completion of the WPD Acquisition, which will be funded by fully committed bridge facilities, is expected to occur within the next four months and completion of the NECO Sale is expected to occur before the end of the first quarter of 2022. National Grid expects to launch the sale process for NGG in the second half of this year and complete the sale approximately a year later.

The Chief Executive of National Grid, John Pettigrew , commented that:

Continue reading

Electric Nation V2G Trial Uses Wallbox Chargers

In a press release last week the Electric Nation project announced that:

The Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid (V2G) trial, which is aiming to demonstrate how V2G technology can provide a solution to potential electricity grid capacity issues as the numbers of electric vehicles (EVs) increase, has announced that it will partner with Wallbox, a leading energy management company that manufactures smart EV charging solutions.

The trial introduces Wallbox’s latest innovation, Quasar, which is the smallest and lightest bidirectional charger for home use. By using Quasar, EVs can put energy back into the grid at peak times, supporting national energy demand. This technology reduces the need for extra electricity generation or network reinforcement.

Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid – a project of Western Power Distribution (WPD), in partnership with CrowdCharge – is recruiting 100 Nissan EV owners in the WPD licence areas of the Midlands, South West and South Wales to take part in the trial of Vehicle to Grid smart charging technology.

If you’re a Nissan LEAF or e-NV200 owner here is the Electric Nation V2G trial carrot:

The Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid trial is offering free installation of the V2G smart chargers worth £5,500 to Nissan EV drivers who live in the three WPD regions. CrowdCharge is recruiting 100 people for the trial to help Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) and others to understand how V2G charging could work with their electricity networks.

I suspect that lots of people will be applying, so don’t wait too long!

Inauguration of the FCA/Terna/ENGIE V2G pilot project

We have been covering the joint Fiat Chrysler/Terna/ENGIE V2G project in Milan for the past year or so. Yesterday the first stage of the project was inaugurated during an on site press conference. According to the Terna press release:

Today at the headquarters of the Heritage Hub within FCA’s Mirafiori industrial district in Turin, FCA, Engie Eps and Terna presented the Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) electric-mobility pilot project, which will be the largest in the world once completed.

The V2G installation, located in the Drosso logistics area, was inaugurated during an international conference in the presence of the Minister of Economic Development, Stefano Patuanelli, the Mayor of Turin, Chiara Appendino and the President of the Piedmont region, Alberto Cirio, along with numerous other institutional guests and journalists from Italy and around the world, with a demonstration of its features and operating methods.

The V2G plant at Mirafiori is a project “100% made in Italy”. On the one hand, it is a significant opportunity for the Italian industrial system to take a leading role in the development of the future of sustainable mobility. On the other, it is the result of the joint effort of three companies that lead their sectors. In their use of such an innovative technology, their experiments are now beginning on a bidirectional charging solution that benefits from physical aggregation in a single point of interconnection with the power grid, capable of interacting with the other energy resources on site.

According to the Engie press release:

Continue reading

The Future of Vehicle to Grid EV Charging?

Our title for today is shamelessly plagiarised from an article of the same name on the Electric Nation web site, which begins as follows:

By 2050, up to 45% of households will actively provide Vehicle to Grid (V2G) services, according to National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios, published in July 2020. But will the average Electric Vehicle (EV) driver be able to use V2G charging over the next few years?

A very good question and a very interesting infographic! The article continues:

The rapid growth in the numbers of electric vehicles on our roads will mean more demand on local electricity networks if EVs are all plugged in at the same time, such as during the peak between 5pm and 7pm in the evening. Smart charging, or ‘V1G’, which allows management of the time when EV charging occurs – as trialled by the original Electric Nation project – will help to avoid this situation.

V2G charging will be more effective than smart charging. This is due to the ability to link EVs together and put significant levels of energy back into the grid at peak times, like a huge decentralised power station. V2G will therefore help to reduce the grid’s need for additional energy generation, typically supplied by fossil fuels at peak times, as well as reducing demand on electricity networks, and allowing EV drivers to use greener and cheaper electricity.

So far so good, I agree entirely. However the next paragraph states:

Continue reading