Nissan has begun testing a system that would use electric vehicles and demand response technology to help keep the lights on during outages in Japan.
Improving grid stability
Since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, which crippled the country’s power grid, the country’s focus has been on improving power grid stability during emergencies. [Read Engerati’s Japan’s Energy Makeover and Japan’s Energy Gridlock].
Nissan has been testing a LEAF to Home system, a technology that allows the electric Nissan LEAF to power a home during blackouts. They are now expanding this system to help improve the stability of electrical grids.
The LEAF to Home system is 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.
While the LEAF to Home system has proven successful in creating a personal, family response system for adding electrical capability to a home during blackouts, this new V2H initiative is expanding on that role by allowing the electric Nissan LEAF to become a part of the electrical grid itself during daily use when peak power requirements and grid demands are high.
Nissan has also developed a unique V2B or Vehicle to Building solution that plugs up to 6 Nissan Leaf electric vehicles into a building’s power distribution board to perform smart charging and discharging. The objective is to help the building reduce its draw of electricity at peak price periods. V2B is different from V2G (Vehicle to Grid). V2B doesn’t send the electricity drawn from electric vehicles to the grid – it is used within the building. The building benefits by taking less electricity from the grid, and thereby lowers its bills.
Japan’s demand response strategy
Currently, demand response as an overall strategy has been making Japanese grids more efficient. Consumers are incentivised to modify their power consumption during peak usage times. This strategy took off in 2011 when peak consumption hours started to become a cause for major concern. In response, the country has seen an increased interest in distributed resources, as well as smarter infrastructure. [Engerati-Demand Response- Big In Japan] and [Engerati- Smart meters and demand response to tackle power shortages in Japan.
Power companies often request aggregates to use energy conservation measures and compensate them for the energy saved during those periods. Many businesses and other power users now work around those periods in order to save or supplement income as a result. To further augment that, this new demand response initiative is hoping to assess the usefulness of using V2H systems during peak-use hours to put the stored power in unused, but plugged-in electric cars back into the grid. Those doing so would ultimately be compensated, but for now, the goal is merely to find out whether it would be feasible as an addition to the current demand response schemes.
The company will run two to three tests each month on designated days through January 2015.