Energy Queensland has released a ten-point tactical plan to support and optimise the increased uptake of electric vehicles on its networks, including key strategies to develop bi-directional, or vehicle-to-grid, charging capabilities and services.
The Network Electric Vehicles Tactical Plan sets out a roadmap for Queensland’s government-owned network businesses Ergon and Energex, to explore added opportunities for the grid and mitigate potential network risks that will come with growing EV adoption rates.
As you can see in the chart below, EV uptake in Queensland has followed the “slow but steady” adoption rate that has been set by the whole of Australia. But with more and more models coming to market, and prices starting to decrease, Energy Queensland says it expects the pace of EV adoption to accelerate from around 2023.
“The even faster growth in EV volumes predicted over coming years presents an opportunity to increase electricity demand, enhance network utilisation, and mitigate electricity supply quality risks, along with opportunities for positive stakeholder engagement and other benefits,” the report says.
Energy Queensland notes that if EV charging is unmanaged – allowed to occur at any time, on any tariff, without any price signals, technical management, or consumer education – the additional electrical load could cause a range of potential problems for the grid.
Alternatively, the report says, if EV charging management, or orchestration, is introduced early in the adoption curve for EVs, Queensland’s network business can optimise the existing network capacity to get the best results for all stakeholders.
The 10 “tactics” – detailed in the infographic below – range from industry and stakeholder engagement, to overcoming barriers to uptake, gathering key data and research, and identification of optimal lay out of charging infrastructure.
Perhaps most importantly, however, tactics 3 and 4 focus on the potential energy management opportunities that mass uptake of EVs could bring to the state, including vehicle-to-grid services, where energy stored in electric car batteries can be tapped by networks at times of high demand.
The report notes that while the state currently has no no V2G or V2B (vehicle-to-building) connections on its networks, the significant role of this sort of bi-directional charging technology will play in the longer-term future is inevitable.
To get a better grip on what can be achieved – and how – Energy Queensland notes that it is conducting a three-month trial of a bi-directional charger with a Nissan Leaf, which has V2G capability, in Cairns in late 2020.
“While there is currently no government or electricity retailer feed-in tariff available in Queensland particularly for export from an EV, it is likely that a small but growing number of owners of V2G-capable EVs may seek to discharge energy from their EV to their building or home, and possibly even export it to the grid,” the report says.
“In addition, some customers with V2G-capable EVs could be compelled to charge their vehicle at public charging stations, sometimes at no cost, and bring that energy home to power their house, potentially daily. This concept may even be more cost-effective than also investing in stationary batteries in the home.”
The report also flags the use of third-party “aggregators” – such as are being used in South Australia to help manage the export of rooftop solar to the grid in that state – to help in the management of V2G services.
“Stationary batteries, and ultimately EV batteries, can be called on by aggregators to discharge to the premises, or even the grid, when supply is constrained or electricity wholesale pool prices are high, or to charge in anticipation of such an event or when demand or pool prices are low,” it says.