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Today the average car runs on fossil fuels, but growing pressure for climate action, falling battery costs, and concerns about air pollution in cities, has given life to the once “over-priced” and neglected electric vehicle. With many new electric vehicles (EV) now out-performing their fossil-powered counterparts’ capabilities on the road, energy planners are looking to bring innovation to the garage — 95% of a car’s time is spent parked. The result is that with careful planning and the right infrastructure in place, parked and plugged-in EVs could be the battery banks of the future, stabilising electric grids powered by wind and solar energy.

EVs at scale can create vast electricity storage capacity, but if everyone simultaneously charges their cars in the morning or evening, electricity networks can become stressed. The timing of charging is therefore critical. ‘Smart charging’, which both charges vehicles and supports the grid, unlocks a virtuous circle in which renewable energy makes transport cleaner and EVs support larger shares of renewables,” says Dolf Gielen, Director of IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Centre.

Looking at real examples, a new report from IRENA, Innovation Outlook: smart charging for electric vehicles, guides countries on how to exploit the complementarity potential between renewable electricity and EVs. It provides a guideline for policymakers on implementing an energy transition strategy that makes the most out of EVs.

Smart implementation

Smart charging means adapting the charging cycle of EVs to both the conditions of the power system and the needs of vehicle users. By decreasing EV-charging-stress on the grid, smart charging can make electricity systems more flexible for renewable energy integration, and provides a low-carbon electricity option to address the transport sector, all while meeting mobility needs.

The rapid uptake of EVs around the world, means smart charging could save billions of dollars in grid investments needed to meet EV loads in a controlled manner. For example, the distribution system operator in Hamburg — Stromnetz Hamburg — is testing a smart charging system that uses digital technologies that control the charging of vehicles based on systems and customers’ requirements. When fully implemented, this would reduce the need for grid investments in the city due to the load of charging EVs by 90%.

IRENA’s analysis indicates that if most of the passenger vehicles sold from 2040 onwards were electric, more than 1 billion EVs could be on the road by 2050 — up from around 6 million today —dwarfing stationary battery capacity. Projections suggest that in 2050, around 14 TWh of EV batteries could be available to provide grid services, compared to just 9 TWh of stationary batteries.

The implementation of smart charging systems ranges from basic to advanced. The simplest approaches encourage consumers to defer their charging from peak to off-peak periods. More advanced approaches using digital technology, such as direct control mechanisms may in the near future serve the electricity system by delivering close-to real-time energy balancing and ancillary services.

Advanced forms of smart charging

An advanced smart charging approach, called Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), allows EVs not to just withdraw electricity from the grid, but to also inject electricity back to the grid. V2G technology may create a business case for car owners, via aggregators, to provide ancillary services to the grid. However, to be attractive for car owners, smart charging must satisfy the mobility needs, meaning cars should be charged when needed, at the lowest cost, and owners should possibly be remunerated for providing services to the grid. Policy instruments, such as rebates for the installation of smart charging points as well as time-of-use tariffs, may incentivise a wide deployment of smart charging.

We’ve seen this tested in the UK, Netherlands and Denmark. For example, since 2016, Nissan, Enel and Nuvve have partnered and worked on an energy management solution that allows vehicle owners and energy users to operate as individual energy hubs. Their two pilot projects in Denmark and the UK have allowed owners of Nissan EVs to earn money by sending power to the grid through Enel’s bidirectional chargers.

Perfect solution?

While EVs have a lot to offer towards accelerating variable renewable energy deployment, their uptake also brings technical challenges that need to be overcome.

IRENA analysis suggests uncontrolled and simultaneous charging of EVs could significantly increase congestion in power systems and peak load. Resulting in limitations to increase the share of solar PV and wind in power systems, and the need for additional investment costs in electrical infrastructure in form of replacing and additional cables, transformers, switchgears, etc., respectively.

An increase in autonomous and ‘mobility-as-a-service’ driving — i.e. innovations for car-sharing or those that would allow your car to taxi strangers when you are not using it — could disrupt the potential availability of grid-stabilising plugged-in EVs, as batteries will be connected and available to the grid less often.

Impact of charging according to type

It has also become clear that fast and ultra-fast charging are a priority for the mobility sector, however, slow charging is actually better suited for smart charging, as batteries are connected and available to the grid longer. For slow charging, locating charging infrastructure at home and at the workplace is critical, an aspect to be considered during infrastructure planning. Fast and ultra-fast charging may increase the peak demand stress on local grids. Solutions such as battery swapping, charging stations with buffer storage, and night EV fleet charging, might become necessary, in combination with fast and ultra-fast charging, to avoid high infrastructure investments.

Source: IRENA

Efacec has just given a new step in the e-mobility field with the development of a new fast charger for electric vehicles, called QC45 Generation 2. This charging station is the 2nd generation of the company’s fast charger bestseller, with significant improvements in software and hardware domains.

With close to 4.000 fast charging equipment spread across five continents, mostly on the European and American continents, Efacec invests in the continuous evolution of its products to meet the current and future needs of the user of EV.

QC45 Generation 2 charger is characterized by usability, with better HMI design and improvement in the identification of the connectors; easy to maintain, with easier front access and to the components; new design, more urban, futuristic and high-tech and a layout that benefits the optimization of space, allowing the chargers to be placed side by side due the ventilation is no longer on the side as was the previous version of the QC45 charger.

The innovation and differentiating features visible in QC45 Generation 2 charger represent a new approach of Efacec in the fast charging field and will be present in all products of this line.

Source: Efacec

For most people, their personal energy revolution begins with the installation of a PV system on the roof of their home. This allows them not only to cover their domestic energy needs, but also to make use of the entire spectrum of options offered by energy sector integration thanks to the intelligent solutions from Fronius Solar Energy. The ultimate goal is to power an entire household exclusively from self-generated solar energy, which can also be used to heat water and for e-mobility. This helps to increase the rate of self-sufficiency and to more efficiently utilise the PV system. When it comes to e-mobility in particular, it is important to have a suitable overall concept comprising a PV system, energy storage system, hot water generation and a wallbox – in other words, a domestic charging station for electric cars, bringing a new level of meaning to ‘solar power’.

A personal energy revolution involves exploiting the entire spectrum of energy sector integration. Optimum energy management enables the highest possible rate of self-sufficiency to be achieved with self-generated solar energy. This increases profitability and the rate of self-consumption while simultaneously reducing costs. Alongside electricity and heat, mobility is the third major sector that can be powered with electricity from a user’s own roof using solutions from Fronius.

If you own an electric car, you’ll want to power it with solar energy,” explains Martin Hackl, Global Director Solar Energy at Fronius. “But you’re often not at home when the electricity from your domestic PV system is available.” This is where Fronius comes in: the solar energy experts are taking e-mobility to the next level and are making it possible to charge an electric car in the afternoon or evening with the electricity stored throughout the day. “It’s about having an energy solution that guarantees an electric car really is fuelled with green electricity,” adds Hackl. “To achieve this, you need to get the entire package right.

Fuelling a car with green electricity

Owners of electric cars essentially have three ways of charging their vehicles. The easiest, yet most ineffective method, is to simply plug the car into the socket or wallbox when power is required and use the energy available at that moment. This often only enables the user to achieve a slight increase in self-consumption, as a large proportion of the electricity needed is drawn from the public grid.

To charge the electric car’s battery intelligently, a Fronius inverter with an integrated energy management function and a compatible wallbox (charging station for the home) is required alongside the PV system on the roof. The inverter informs the wallbox when there is surplus electricity available, which then charges the electric car. Self-consumption can typically be increased by a further 20% in this way.

Dynamic charge control (the car is charged with precisely the amount of surplus electricity that is available at the given time) and an additional Fronius battery raise the rate of self-consumption up to almost 100%, depending on the system size and consumption behaviour. With this method, the energy management system sends the surplus electricity that has been produced throughout the day to a Fronius Solar Battery for temporary storage until it is later needed to fuel the car with solar power.

This ingenious method enables users to really get the most out of e-mobility,” says Hackl. “If you also upgrade your system with a Fronius Ohmpilot, which draws on surplus electricity to generate hot water, you will have a solution that makes the most economic sense and achieves the highest level of self-sufficiency.

Source: Fronius

Groupe Renault is beginning the first large-scale pilot schemes in reversible electric charging. Its technology has the particularity of placing the reversible charger inside vehicles, so it just requires a simple, inexpensive adaptation of the existing charging terminals.

A fleet of fifteen Zoe vehicles with vehicle-to-grid charging will be introduced in Europe over the course of 2019 to develop Renault’s future offerings in reversible charging and lay the groundwork for the future standards —with their partners’ help. These pilot schemes will begin in Utrecht (The Netherlands) in an ecosystem developed by We Drive Solar and on Porto Santo Island (in the archipelago of Madeira, Portugal) with Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira, an energy supplier. Following these, more pilot schemes will be introduced in France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark.

Vehicle-to-grid charging—also called reversible charging—modulates the charging and discharging of electric-vehicle batteries in accordance with users’ needs and the grid’s supply of available electricity. Charging reaches its maximum level when the electricity supply exceeds demand, notably during peaks in production of renewable energy. But vehicles are also capable of injecting electricity into the grid during peaks in consumption. Electric vehicles can therefore serve units of temporary energy storage and become key drivers in the development of renewable energy. In this way, the electricity grid optimizes the supply of local renewable energy and reduces infrastructure costs. At the same time, customers enjoy greener, more economical consumption of electricity and are financially rewarded for serving the electricity grid.

Reversible charging will be piloted in several projects (electric ecosystems or mobility services) through seven countries and alongside various partners to lay the groundwork for Groupe Renault’s future offering. The aim is twofold: to measure large-scale feasibility and potential gains. In particular, these pilot schemes will help us:

  • Underline the technical and economic advantages of an onboard solution in electric vehicles
  • Demonstrate—in concrete terms—the value of services provided for the local and national electricity grid, such as encouraging consumption of solar and wind energy, checking the grid’s frequency or tension, and reducing infrastructure costs
  • Work on the regulatory frameworks of a mobile energy-storage scheme, detecting any pitfalls in it and offering concrete solutions
  • Establish common standards, the basic requirement for an industrial-scale roll-out.

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FuturENERGY Dec. 18 - Jan. 2019

E-mobility has been emerging into our lives for years and although it has always seemed that its arrival would take place at some indeterminate time in the near future, the electric vehicle has recently rocked the entire industrial sector as well as public opinion. The waiting is over. The electric vehicle is a reality, with new models arriving every few months, offering attractive designs, new battery capacities, greater ranges and prices, which although still higher than their thermal counterparts, are relatively contained and justifiable given the performance and the total cost of ownership or the cost throughout the total life of the vehicle…By David Iriarte, Key Account Manager EM, Ingeteam.

Flexible energy options, such as energy storage, smart-charging electric vehicles, demand response and interconnectors, are needed to ensure that the energy transition proceeds on an optimal path. Our expensive power system would otherwise be reliant on fossil-fueled backup and installing excess wind and solar capacity.

The four types of flexibility mentioned above can accelerate the transition to a cleaner power system and ultimately enable the efficient integration of 80% or more renewable energy by 2040, according to two reports published today by BloombergNEF (BNEF) in partnership with Eaton and Statkraft.

The Flexibility Solutions for High-Renewable Energy Systems reports model a number of alternative scenarios for future power systems in the UK and Germany, respectively, depending on how each flexibility technology might develop in the coming years.

Energy storage and smart electric vehicle charging provide flexibility by moving large volumes of renewable energy to periods of high demand, or moving demand to periods of high renewable generation. Dispatchable demand response reduces the need for fossil-fired backup plants in the power system, reducing emissions. Interconnecting to Nordic hydro can address periods of both excess supply and excess demand, providing different benefits over the decades as the needs of the system evolve.

The two studies – focused on the UK and Germany – highlight that policies and regulation accelerating the adoption of these technologies are key to make a cleaner, cheaper, and more efficient power system possible.

Specific findings for the UK include:

•None of the scenarios halt the transition to a low-carbon power system. In all scenarios, the renewable share of generation exceeds 70% by 2030 as wind and solar become dominant, thanks to their dramatic and ongoing cost improvements. However, without new sources of clean flexibility, the system will be oversized and wasteful, making it 13% more expensive by 2040 and with 36% higher emissions.
•Greater electrification of transport yields major emissions savings with little risk to the power generation system. Avoided fuel emissions far outstrip added power sector emissions. The power generation system will comfortably integrate all these electric vehicles, and the system benefits are even greater if most EVs charge flexibly. However, local distribution networks are likely to face challenges.
•Accelerated energy storage development can hasten the transition to a renewable power system, with significant benefits by 2030 including a 13% emissions reduction and 12% less fossil backup capacity needed.

Specific findings for Germany include:

•In Germany, adding flexibility supports coal through 2030, even as renewables grow to dominate the market. This counterintuitive finding is not due to a problem with batteries, EVs, demand response or interconnectors – cheap coal is the culprit. Flexible technologies are important because they can integrate inflexible generation – and in Germany’s case, its inexpensive lignite plants also benefit. To decarbonize, Germany needs to address existing coal generation while investing in renewables, flexibility and interconnection.
•Still, by 2040, adding more batteries, flexible electric vehicles and interconnections with the Nordics all enable greater renewable penetration and emissions savings. More flexible demand, on the other hand, reduces the need for battery investment.
•Even with coal-heavy power, adding EVs reduces transport emissions.

Groupe Renault, Morbihan Energie, Les Cars Bleus and Enedis have joined forces to create FlexMob’île, an innovative programme aimed at accompanying the energy transition on the French island of Belle-Île-en-Mer. This smart electric ecosystem is founded on three core activities, namely the sharing of electric vehicles, the stationary storage of solar energy and smart charging. FlexMob’île sees Groupe Renault continue to develop the principle of smart islands, the first of which was Portugal’s Porto Santo, which has been operational since last February.

For the next 24 months, Groupe Renault and its public and private partners will be developing a smart electric ecosystem that has been conceived to reduce the island’s carbon footprint and increase its energy independence.

From 2019, Belle-Île-en-Mer residents and visitors to the island will have access to a fleet of electric cars by means of a self-service hire programme featuring Renault ZOE and Kangoo Z.E. These vehicles will be powered thanks to a network of charging stations located close to the island’s main attractions.

This new carsharing service will take advantage of surplus energy produced by solar panels installed on the roofs of the island’s main public buildings. For instance, solar panels on the school’s rooftop provide heat and lighting for classrooms during the week, while the energy produced at weekends or during school holidays will be used to charge the cars.

By promoting the use of locally-produced renewable energy, FlexMob’île will offer the island’s economic stakeholders enhanced flexibility while at the same time promising substantial savings.

For example, Groupe Renault plans to provide second-life electric car batteries for the island’s largest holiday residences facility. These batteries will be used to store energy produced during the day by solar panels for use in the evening, chiefly to heat the bungalows. This should allow the centre to extend its season which until now has been restricted by central heating costs.

Source: Groupe Renault

The number of electric vehicles (EVs) worldwide is growing rapidly and BP is working across the supply chain to support the development of the technologies and infrastructure required to support that growth. BP believes that ultra-fast charging will be key in accelerating the adoption of EVs worldwide.

Ultra-fast charging is at the heart of BP’s electrification strategy. StoreDot’s technology shows real potential for car batteries that can charge in the same time it takes to fill a gas tank.

StoreDot has developed a lithium ion-based battery technology which enables ultra-fast charging for the mobile and industrial markets. Using this technology, StoreDot is also developing a new type of electric car battery that will aim to achieve a charging experience that is comparable to the time spent to refuel a traditional car. StoreDot currently expects first sales of its flash batteries for mobile devices as early as 2019.

BP is committed to a lower carbon future, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its operations, improve its products and services to help customers lower their emissions, and create new low carbon businesses. BP’s work on advanced mobility and developing fast and convenient EV charging networks, including venturing investments in both StoreDot and Freewire Technologies, supports customers who aim to reduce their emissions through EVs.

Source: BP

A report recently published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) shows that there is still serious underinvestment in electric vehicle recharging infrastructure across Europe, with only one in three EU member states providing incentives.

According to the EEA report, specific incentives for electric vehicle charging points were found in only 10 out of the EU28. The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) cautions that investments need to be stepped up, as future reductions of CO2 emissions from cars and vans are strongly dependent on increased sales of electric and other alternatively-powered vehicles.

This will only happen with an EU-wide roll-out of a charging and refuelling infrastructure. As the EEA points out in its report: a sufficient charging infrastructure is required to give people the confidence that fully electric vehicles will reliably meet their travel needs and help reduce anxiety linked with possible limitations in range. In this respect, the Directive on Alternative Fuel Infrastructure (DAFI) set clear objectives for the 28 member states as far back as 2014. To date, however, the implementation of the DAFI by national governments has been poor.

Although electric vehicle sales have increased in line with global car sale growth in recent years, their overall market share remains low (1.4% of total EU car sales), growing by just 0.8% between 2014 and 2017.

Even though all manufacturers are expanding their portfolios of electric cars, we unfortunately see that market penetration of these vehicles is quite weak and patchy across the EU,” stated ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert. “Consumers looking for an alternative to diesel often opt for petrol or hybrid vehicles, but the large-scale switch to the EV is not yet taking place. This new EEA report confirms that a dense EU-wide charging infrastructure network is an absolute must if we want consumers throughout the EU to really embrace electric vehicles.”

Although the European Commission has acknowledged that the market uptake of alternatively-powered vehicles and infrastructure roll-out are intrinsically connected, its recent proposal on post-2021 CO2 targets for passenger cars and vans does not link the availability of charging infrastructure to the proposed CO2 objectives.

In order to reflect the reality of the market, ACEA believes that Europe’s long-term climate goals should be linked to future infrastructure availability and consumer acceptance.

Groupe Renault and EEM Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira, SA, which produces, transports and distributes and sells electricity on the two inhabited Portuguese islands of Madeira archipelago (Madeira and Porto Santo), has announced the launch of a smart electric ecosystem on the island of Porto Santo. This world-first smart island uses electric vehicles, second-life batteries, smart charging and V2G to boost the island’s energy independence and stimulate the production of renewable energy. Groupe Renault, EEM and their partners have been working since the beginning of the year on this project, which is expected to last 18 months.

The government of the Autonomous Region of Madeira will roll out an innovative programme in Porto Santo, known as Sustainable Porto Santo – Smart Fossil Free Island, to facilitate the energy transition. EEM, which is in charge of the programme’s energy and electric mobility, has chosen Groupe Renault as its partner for electric mobility solutions.

The project comprises three complementary phases. First, 20 volunteer users in Porto Santo will drive 14 ZOEs and 6 Kangoo Z.E.s for their everyday use. These vehicles will be able to benefit from smart charging thanks to the 40 public and private charging points set up by EEM and Renault on the island.

Second, by the end of 2018, the vehicles will step up their interaction with the grid by providing it with electricity during peak hours. In addition to being smart charged, the electric vehicles will therefore also serve as temporary energy storage units.

Third, second-life batteries from Renault electric vehicles will be used to store the fluctuating supply of energy produced by Porto Santo’s solar and wind farms. Stored as soon as it is produced, this energy is recovered by the grid as and when needed to meet local demand. Some of these batteries come from Madeira Island. For the first time, Groupe Renault demonstrates real life re-employing of second-life batteries in a local ecosystem.

About the smart electric ecosystem

Smart charging adjusts battery charging rates as a function of users’ needs and the availability of electricity via the grid. Batteries are charged when supply exceeds demand, notably during renewable energy production peaks. Charging ceases when demand for electricity outstrips supply by the grid, thereby optimising the supply of local renewable energy.

In the case of V2G charging, electric vehicles provide electricity to the grid during peak hours. In this way, not only do they benefit from the advantages of smart charging, but they will also serve as a means to store energy temporarily.

Once life as a power source for electric vehicles is over, EV batteries continue to be capable of storing a significant amount of energy. Renault is able to harness this energy in less demanding environments, notably for the purposes of stationary energy storage. By giving batteries a second lease of life, Renault is today able to cover the full spectrum of energy storage needs, from individual homes to office buildings, factories, schools and apartment blocks, and even the charging of electric vehicles.

Source: Groupe Renault

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