Demand Response Via The Cloud and Electric Vehicles

Eight car manufacturers participated in a test to see if utilities can “tell” EVs to temporarily stop charging to avoid an unstable grid.
Published: Tue 11 Nov 2014

Although most electric vehicle (EV) owners generally charge their vehicles at night, the potential for more users to power up during the day could add significant strain on the electric grid. It is for this reason that car manufacturers are searching for a solution that will integrate EV’s in demand response programmes.

EVs helping to create a stable grid

The search is building in momentum since electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular. According to Navigant Research, the global light duty EV market is expected to grow from 2.7 million vehicle sales in 2014 to 6.4 million in 2023 under a base scenario.

We wrote recently about Nissan which has begun testing a system that would use EVs and demand response technology to help keep the lights on during outages in Japan. [Engerati – Nissan Begins LEAF to Home Grid Demand Response Testing.] The article refers to the LEAF to Home system as part of a larger Japanese Vehicle to Home (V2H) initiative to expand the use of electric vehicles in both emergencies and as parts of the overall electrical grid during daily use. The new testing is part of demand response testing and involves several Nissan LEAF sales outlets in Japan and ENERES Co, an energy management company.

Cloud computing and demand response

Recently, Japan’s Sumitomo Electric Industries, along with several utilities, has run tests to see if cloud computing can be used in transmitting a message directly to EVs. The message is designed to ask that the car’s owner briefly stop charging in order to boost grid stability, which prevents local blackouts. If the owners agree to partake, they are compensated for their reduction in energy consumption.

Usually when energy-saving is requested consumers may respond by moderating their use of air conditioning and lighting. However, by using the storage capacity of electric vehicles and Vehicle to Home (V2H) systems, consumers can reduce their use of power at peak times without turning off lights and appliances. This is particularly useful in commercial establishments where it is difficult to turn power off to save electricity.

A demonstration to show off the new Open Vehicle-Grid Integration (VGI) Platform software system, developed by EPRI and Sumitomo Electric Industries. was recently held at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s Customer Service Center in California. The demo showed the vehicles responding to a request from the grid to stop charging and then responding to another request to start charging again.

Transmission companies and utilities in attendance included DTE Energy, Duke Energy, PJM Interconnection, CenterPoint Energy, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Southern Company, Northeast Utilities, Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, Commonwealth Edison, TVA, Manitoba Hydro, Austin Energy, ConEdison and CPS Energy.

Additional car manufacturers taking part in this initiative include Honda, BMW, Toyota, Chrysler Group, Mitsubishi, General Motors, and Mercedes-Benz. Each of these companies offer at least one EV.

It is in EV manufacturers’ interest to help create a situation where their EVs can be used effectively and this can only be done by ensuring that the power grid remains stable.