• Jan 14th 2009 at 5:56PM
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Newark, DE has gotten the green light for one of the first two-way Vehicle to Grid infrastructure. Sponsored by a $730,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, the project helps the state and the University of Delaware to purchase specially-equipped cars (retrofitted versions of the Scion xB) which would get electricity from the local utility and give back some of it when the car is parked and plugged in. Of course, a handful of cars aren't enough to make any dramatic impact on the grid, but regional grid manager believes that a thousand will make a noticeable difference. The demonstration vehicles, plugged into a single 208-volt, 50-amp outlet, can each use or send onto the grid 10.4 kWh of electricity. What Delaware needs now, besides the EV cars, is a complete network of garages, apartment parking lots and city streets outfitted with the right size plugs, as the grid is actually ready to go. Thanks to GoodCheer for the tip.

[Source: Delaware Online]


City of Newark, Delaware, First in Nation to License Electric Cars to Provide Power

Newark, DE (January 12, 2009) – On Friday, January 9, 2009, the City of Newark became the first electric utility in the United States to approve the use of an electric vehicle to store and provide power for the local electric grid.

The vehicle, which runs on electricity alone, is specifically designed to store energy and improve grid reliability. University of Delaware researchers helped develop the concept, called Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), by working with a consortium of industry partners over the past decade to establish the communications protocol between the vehicle and the grid operator. Industrial partners in the consortium include Delmarva Power and its parent company Pepco Holdings Inc; PJM, the regional grid operator; California-based electric vehicle manufacturer AC Propulsion; and others. With the City of Newark's approval, the UD team is now conducting V2G testing at two outlets within the City's service territory.

Associate Professor of Marine Policy Willett Kempton explained how the technology benefits the grid operator. Currently, there is no energy storage built into the electric grid system, meaning that electricity usage and electricity generation must be simultaneous. As fluctuating, non-dispatchable renewable sources, such as solar and wind power, become a larger fraction of our electric generation, energy storage will help grid operators smooth power output fluctuations. "Wind tends to blow stronger at night when the electric load is low," he said. "If electric vehicles charged at night with wind power, the grid operator could use the energy in the batteries, when vehicles aren't needed for driving and are plugged in, to help maintain grid reliability. The vehicle owner would then be paid for providing these energy services at a greater value than what they paid for the electricity."

The City of Newark's approval process for V2G electric vehicles is similar to the process used to certify solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on residential rooftops. In both cases, the City is responsible for ensuring that the energy source will not feed power back to the grid when the power lines are down. This requirement is critical to maintaining the safety of line workers during a power outage. UD and Delmarva Power and Light conducted initial testing of this safety requirement before the vehicle was thoroughly tested to IEEE standards at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo. Sam Sneeringer, the City's Assistant Electric Director, describes the reasoning behind the certification process by saying, "Solar PV systems and V2G vehicles are tested to the same standards and treated the same within the city's approval process because electricity from the car's batteries or from a solar panel is indistinguishable to the electric grid and presents the same potential safety risks to linemen." Willett Kempton and his team of researchers plan on having a fleet of six vehicles by the end of 2009, two at UD and four operated by the state of Delaware. The test fleet will be used to demonstrate multiple V2G vehicles working together and supplying energy as a single power plant. The City of Newark's approval paves the way for larger-scale adoption of V2G electric vehicles nationwide, helping to advance our electric grid infrastructure and reduce our consumption of oil.

To learn more about the city of Newark's Electric Department, visit www.cityofnewarkde.us/index.asp?NID=18. For more about UD's College of Marine and Earth Studies, visit www.ocean.udel.edu.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      I think this article needs some clarification. First off you charge electric vehicles at night. So the vehicle is plugged in at night and absorbing energy. Suppose you dont use all that to drive to and from work and you have some left over when you get home. When you plug the car in again you as a consumer want a full charge. Because you may have a road trip the next day. So where is this opportunity to put electricity back to the grid. And if this is really an issue why not just buy thousands of Lead acid batteries and charge them when needed then pull power from then when needed. Then no one is using the power for anything like commuting and you can get your power back tothe grid when you need it.

      either im missing something or this is the worst idea in years
        • 8 Months Ago

        You are quite right. Supplying bulk energy for the daily peak is not the best application. The energy market that this car would supply is the "Frequency Regulation" (a google search for that phrase will provide some explanations more thorough than the following).

        The regulation market is not an energy market. The car is not selling electricity. What it is selling is the ability to absorb or discharge a small amount of power on a moment's notice. Like a lifeguard on duty (just the first analogy that popped into my head), you're not paid for the lives you save, you're paid just to be there, ready to act if called upon.

        As demand fluctuates throughout the day, generators are turned on and off to balance the larger trends of daily peaks and night-time lows. But demand changes very fast. By being able to increase or decrease the total load on the grid, the cars are helping grid managers to keep the voltage and 60Hz frequency stable. This service is much more valuable than simply selling electricity, which is astonishingly cheap.

        The power contract is a function of your plug size. You get paid for being plugged in and available -whether or not you are called on to absorb or discharge extra energy.

        Of course each car/driver will set limits on how much of the battery capacity is available to the grid manager, so you never find you don't have enough range to do your errands. This lower limit of battery state of charge would be a time-dependent function, and the car will learn how and when you drive, so as to maximize the amount of time you can provide regulation. You as the owner have an over-ride of course, and can opt to simply charge rather than participating in the regulation market.
        • 8 Months Ago
        thanks for the clarification but there are still issues with this. The problem is that people dont charge their cars in at work. So this regulation support does very little at anytime other than at night. At night things are pretty constant. But all this goes back to the statement that the power company would be better off just purchasing lead acid batteries and using those to regulate. Rather than relying on those batteries in individuals cars. Atleast someone is thinking out side the box. Or inside the box as the case may be (xB)
      • 8 Months Ago
      208volt? Thats 3-phase and nearly impossible to get in a residence.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Where the vehicle was plugged in for the demonstration and unveiling was a shop building at the University of Delaware that had 3 phase service. This works just as well (actually ~15% better) using residential 240V service.
        • 8 Months Ago
        "hats 3-phase and nearly impossible to get in a residence. "

        Really? Check your electric stove and dryer.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Technically, both the electricity and the information are available anywhere in PJM's territory


      All you need is a car that can use it.

      I should mention for clarity and credit due that the cars involved are AC Propulsion eBoxes.
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