The Australian transport sector is currently a major source of pollution. The sector contributes approximately 20 per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions as well as a grave amount of toxins such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates. Electric vehicles (EVs) are an increasingly important mode of transport in Australia with the potential to substantially reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and toxins.
Alongside lowering our country’s emissions, there is a second, substantial benefit to the uptake of EVs in Australia. EV batteries are further driving the transformation of the Australian energy sector by boosting energy security.
“EV batteries are large – roughly five times larger than household batteries, and when fully charged they typically store about as much energy as an average household uses over two to four days,” said Dr Björn Sturmberg, Research Leader in the Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program at ANU. “The national fleet of EV batteries could play a vital role in avoiding blackouts by jumping in to support the grid during disturbances, such as a fossil fuel generator trip,” said Dr Sturmberg.
The Realising Electric Vehicles-to-grid Services project, or REVS, will demonstrate the feasibility of EVs instantly discharging EV batteries when the national grid needs extra power.
Fifty ACT Government EVs and one ActewAGL EV will take part in the trial, which is the largest demonstration of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) services in Australia. The cross-sector project covers the whole electricity and transport supply chains and will create roadmaps and recommendations to deploy V2G technology at a national scale.
“V2G technology has been in development for decades and is now available in a select number of mass market vehicles and chargers,” said Dr Sturmberg. “The maturity of the technology has been demonstrated in overseas trials but questions remain about customer uptake. We’re seeking to discover what makes V2G attractive to customers, manufacturers and service providers.”
In the REVS trial the EV owners will be paid whenever their vehicles are plugged into the grid. If needed the vehicles will automatically inject power into the grid to help avoid black outs. This should be an attractive proposition because contingencies (threats of black outs) are rare events. EV charging should only be affected for a few hours a year while the revenues further reduce the running costs of EVs.
The ANU team of engineering, social, and economic researchers are working to understand the full range of opportunities and barriers of V2G services. This transdisciplinary approach addresses the shortcomings of previous trials, which have omitted the crucial aspects of customer and fleet decision maker expectations and experiences.
Findings will inform strategic roadmaps that industry and governments can use to accelerate and smoothen the transition. “We’re delighted to have the support of many governments and industry players in developing these roadmaps. Their perspectives, input and enthusiasm to implement the roadmaps will maximise their impacts,“ said Dr Sturmberg.
So while the mass uptake of EVs may pose challenges to the electricity system, EVs simultaneously offer new opportunities to enhance grid resilience and energy security with benefits for customers, network operators, systems operators, retailers, new businesses and governments.
The REVS project entails two work streams:
- The Development and Demonstration Workstream
The deployment of 51 V2G enabled vehicles in two fleets. This large fleet of vehicles will provide high quality data on the vehicles’ response to grid disturbances and on the financial viability of V2G services. With fleet vehicles making up over half of all new car sales in Australia, and REVS partner SG Fleet being Australia’s largest fleet management company, the learnings from this trial may impact new car sales nationally.
2. The Knowledge Sharing Workstream
Led by the Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program at the Australian National University, this workstream will provide holistic insights into the economic, technical and social implications of V2G services. The research will provide forward looking assessments of the challenges and opportunities of V2G along with practical industry and regulatory roadmaps for driving V2G services to scale.
The outputs from the project are expected to increase the recognition and understanding of V2G services, and to increase the confidence of all stakeholders in the practicality, viability and reliability of V2G services.
Find out more:
- Realising Electric Vehicles-to-grid Services (REVS) website
- The driving force behind REVS
- Batteries on wheels (ANU Reporter article)
- ARENA press release
- ANU press release
- Owners of electric vehicles to be paid to plug into the grid to help avoid blackouts: The Conversation
- Are 19m EVs equal to 5 Snowy 2.0s? Dr Sturmberg’s follow-up to the above Conversation article
- REVS Roadmap infographic
- REVS How It Works Generator Trip infographic
This project received funding from ARENA as part of ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Program. The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of the Australian Government, and the Australian Government does not accept responsibility for any information or advice contained herein.