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Own a car, save the planet

Required: a capable energy management system

Matti Seppänen / January 26, 2021

Reducing the carbon footprint of transport is a central aspect of the EU’s European Green Deal, and we all can contribute to this target. Electric vehicles help achieve the goal by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in traffic – but they might have a much bigger impact. How could that happen?

Growth in renewable sources and electric vehicles to the rescue

Climate targets have boosted the numbers of electric vehicles, EVs, on Europe’s roads. At the same time, power generation from renewable sources is gathering momentum. Because of renewable generation, we need more shift of electricity usage – and electricity storages, that is, batteries.

Could we connect the dots by using car batteries as part of the electricity system, and, to help EV penetration, compensate owners when allowing access to their batteries to the electricity system? This means that citizens are paid for making their asset available for a common target.

Is there a solution to make that happen? Yes, there is.

EVs have the potential to become a core electricity grid balance tool, as the energy system can be balanced with controlling the charging. Cars can balance the supply and demand of electricity, and feed energy back to the grid. This is called vehicle-to-grid technology, V2G.

Many cars are already equipped with features for V2G, and there are more to come. This would be a win-win-win case in the climate-government-citizen chain.

Small sacrifice for big gains

The increasing popularity of electric vehicles provides a viable solution to electricity storage problems. The more there are EVs, the more there is storage capacity – tens of thousands of storage units around the country working as distributed energy resources. A high enough number of EVs can be charged and balance grid during low-consumption periods when renewable electricity is available and the price is low. When consumption is peaking, batteries can be discharged, thereby avoiding the use of fossil production.

The battery capacity of EVs presently on the world market is nearing 60 kWh and increasing all the time. This is enough to power a detached house inhabited by a family of four even in the cold climate of northern Europe for 24 hours. Only a small amount of electricity needs to be drawn from each EV to achieve a significant contribution to matching peak consumption.

From government subsidies to market-driven incentives

The European Green Deal calls for investment of 1 trillion euros in environmental measures such as switching customers to zero-emission vehicles, raising questions on whether spending should now be reprioritized to help economies recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The solution is described above. Charging EVs when electricity is cheap and discharging them when consumption and prices peak could fundamentally change the present system of incentives. Instead of government-funded EV purchase subsidies or tax breaks, the distributed energy solution introduces a totally market-driven funding model.

When an EV owner joins a service run by their electricity sales company, or a loyalty programme of a retail chain, or someone else, they can be rewarded for allowing their EV battery to be used as an energy resource. “When I allow my car to be used in the electricity market, I’m rewarded.”

Required: a capable energy management system

How to manage this kind of system? To handle large numbers of distributed energy resources such as EV batteries, a capable management system is a must.

TietoEVRY's Distributed Energy Solution (DES) is designed to manage gigantic volumes. It combines millions of electricity devices into a virtual power plant. Delivered as a service from the cloud, it scales with virtually no limits.

 

 

Matti Seppänen
Head of New Energy Services

Matti is an expert in energy management with a mission to save the world and turn energy management into sustainable business. Matti and his team help customers navigate the changing energy industry environment to optimize energy consumption, create virtual power plants (VPP) and contribute to the energy system. -  Save the world and start earning.

Author

Matti Seppänen

Head of New Energy Services

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