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‘We Got a Check,’ Says EV Grid

April 25, 2013 in Electric Drive, EVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Mini E Batteries Yield Grid Gold from V2G Project in Delaware

Backers of vehicle-to-grid technology – which can put electric vehicle batteries in service to electric utilities, thereby increasing their value – report that for the first time, “batteries in road-going cars have been used to provide revenue generating ancillary services for the power grid.” updated April 26

Off-lease Mini E cars from BMW are at the heart of the Grid on Wheels V2G project in Delaware.

Off-lease Mini E cars from BMW are at the heart of the Grid on Wheels V2G project in Delaware.

As part of a V2G project dubbed Grid on Wheels, Palo Alto, Calif.-based EV Grid has announced the “successful fulfillment of, and payment for hour-ahead bids into PJM’s grid regulation ancillary services market.”

“We got a check,” EV Grid founder and CEO Tom Gage says in a release.

EV Grid CEO Tom Gage

EV Grid CEO Tom Gage

PJM is an RTO, or regional transmission organization, that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity. As part of the Grid on Wheels initiative, EV Grid has provided 30 specially equipped, Mini E electric vehicles “aggregated,” EV Grid says, “as a 100-kilowatt dispatchable power resource.”

‘Our Cars Got Paid for Plugging In’

“Our cars got paid for plugging in because they were able and available to respond to the commands of the grid operator,” Gage says.

“PJM Interconnection controls a large grid region that stretches from the East Coast to Illinois,” he explains. “When they needed more juice the cars gave it up. When PJM had too much juice, the cars took it in.

“We’ve been working on V2G for years,” Gage says. “The big question was always, ‘How much money do you get?’ Now we know because we got a check from PJM.

“For the month of March, with the first 15 cars, we got about $5 per day per car. Just as important, the cars that we provided were aggregated, so that together, they could offer – and deliver – 100 kilowatts into PJM’s market.”

University of Delaware Perseveres

The Grid on Wheels Project is a collaborative effort based at the University of Delaware in Newark where, since 1997, EV Grid says, “Professor Willett Kempton has conducted original and innovative research and development on integration of electric vehicles with the power grid.” (Fleets & Fuels has reported on Kempton’s efforts as early as June 25, 2001 and on EV Grid as recently as June 28, 2012.)

It goes both ways.

It goes both ways.

In 2011, the University of Delaware and NRG Energy, of Princeton, N.J., formed a joint venture to explore the commercial potential of V2G. At about the same time, Gage started EV Grid to pursue V2G development opportunities.

Help from BMW

BMW was interested and offered EV Grid 90 off-lease Mini Es, EV Grid says. The Mini E is readily adaptable for V2G because it is equipped with an 18-kilowatt bi-directional charger from AC Propulsion. Gage is a former president of AC Propulsion.

“With BMW’s help, we set up a service hub in Delaware at AutoPort, Inc. near Wilmington so we could upfit and maintain the cars near the University,” Gage said in EV Grid’s announcement today.

‘Many Tentacles’

“The V2G upfit was pretty simple,” he says. “We added a high-current J1772 charge connector and the V2G system developed by Professor Kempton and his crew of dedicated students. I’d like to say we just plugged them in and started counting the money, but of course it wasn’t that easy. The institutional and transactional issues are as much of a challenge as the technical issues.”

“It has many tentacles,” Gage told F&F last year.

Over the next six months EV Grid will provide additional Mini Es to Grid on Wheels, and in collaboration with AutoPort, will introduce the eVan, an all-electric Ford E-250 commercial vehicle re-powered with a V2G-capable power system.

'Power Up the Future'

‘Power Up the Future’

“The additional vehicles along with increases in the operating power levels will allow the Grid on Wheels project to bid up to 300 kilowatts of ancillary services into the PJM market in the coming months,” EV Grid says

“The path to integrating the EV fleet, as to grows toward its multi-gigawatt potential, with the slowly evolving power grid is full of barriers, challenges, and technical problems,” Gage says.

But, he says, “As I see it, it is the only path we can take. Today we took a very big step along that path.”

from NRG Energy’s announcement about the V2G milestone issued on April 26:

  • “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,” said NRG Executive Vice President Denise Wilson, who leads the company’s emerging businesses. “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.”
  • “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,” said Michael J. Kormos, senior vice president of PJM Operations. “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.”

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Source: EV Grid with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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