ARENA-backed project to trial electric vehicle home charging technologies

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On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will provide $2.9 million toward a project that will test the impact of electric vehicle (EV) charging on the electricity grid.

The funding has been awarded to AGL Energy Services (AGL) to undertake a large-scale EV charging trial across New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.

AGL is contributing $5.3 million towards the trial, which also involves project partners JET Charge, Chargefox and FlexCharging and a cohort of distribution networks.

As part of the $8.25 million trial, AGL will recruit 300 EV owners to demonstrate a range of smart and managed charging solutions with a view to accelerate the commercialisation of different charging technologies by better understanding how consumers use them at home.

The project will see AGL install 200 smart chargers at EV owners’ homes where they will be remotely monitored and controlled to help move charging to off-peak times when cheap renewable energy is available or to respond to constraints on the grid.

AGL will also conduct a software based smart charging trial involving 50 EVs to test the ability of EV charging to be controlled by communicating directly with the car without the need for separate smart charging hardware.

A further 50 EVs will participate in a vehicle to grid (V2G) trial to assess the ability and commerciality of EVs to become a source of energy storage and provide energy back to the grid when required.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said these trials would allow EVs ‘to benefit the wider electricity system’, and would support the integration of EVs into the system as uptake increased.

“As more Australians switch to EVs, it will be important to manage and orchestrate EV charging to avoid potentially costly impacts on peak demand, associated network charges and grid security issues,” Mr Miller said.

“EVs also provide economic opportunities for consumers through the potential of reduced electricity costs through higher network utilisation and the potential to generate revenues that would reduce the cost of car ownership.

“We hope trials like this will provide valuable insights into how EVs can provide value for money for consumers, but also help to transition our electricity network going forward.”

AGL General Manager Decentralised Energy Resources Dominique Van Den Berg the trial would enable Australians for the first time to use their EVs to power their houses and export excess energy to the grid.

“This trial will demonstrate how we create value using customers’ distributed energy assets like batteries and share the value with them,” she said.

“We’ll be talking to customers during the trial to understand how they feel about smart charging so we can improve their experience.

“Although the trial is limited to 300 customers, it will help us to shape future energy offers to EV owners.”

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor added: “By trialling new charging technologies within the home, we will better understand the impact EVs could have on our networks and how to save consumers money as they charge.

“The Government is backing a range of technologies, not picking one winner. This follows our ‘technology not taxes’ approach to reducing emissions.”

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