What is grid balancing?
Grid balancing ensures that the energy supply meets the volume of energy demanded. In the short run, when utilities cannot balance their local grids, they must buy energy on the open market – an expensive OPEX proposition – to meet immediate demand and prevent outages. Balancing the grid for the long term to prevent outages requires a significant CAPEX outlay to upgrade existing infrastructure.
How can EV charging service providers help achieve grid balancing?
Ensuring grid balance is a concern within the EV industry as the demand for EV charging has put an excess burden on the grid. To avoid investments in major upgrades to the power infrastructure, eMobility providers are taking alternative approaches.
EV charging service providers optimize energy utilization and achieve grid balancing using three different methodologies:
- Managing EVs as a distributed energy source
- Smart energy management
- Integrating renewables
Managing EVs as a distributed energy source
As vehicles are parked most of the day, using EVs as a distributed energy source – “batteries on wheels” – can minimize the strain on the grid to achieve grid balancing. With Vehicle to Grid (V2G), vehicles’ batteries provide power to the grid during times of peak demand, and the vehicles’ batteries are recharged during times of lower demand.
V2G can be used anywhere parked vehicles will be spending more than a few hours. In-office parks drivers can register for V2G participation – noting the time they will need the vehicle. The grid draws on the vehicle’s stored energy and then directs energy back to the vehicle to recharge the battery, so it is ready for usage when needed. Similarly, EV owners can use their vehicles to power their homes during hours of peak demand and set the vehicle to recharge during hours of non-peak demand, such as early morning hours.
Smart energy management
Smart energy management distributes available power among electric vehicles and other connected power consumers. It balances demand over the course of a day using near real-time load management, making it easier to overcome micro/local grid capacity limits without having to make expensive upgrades to the grid.
The ideal smart energy management system uses specially tuned energy management algorithms to manage dynamic energy distribution to and from the grid. Managing, monitoring, and adjusting energy consumption in real-time helps optimize the EV charging infrastructure.
Wind and solar energy are the most common renewable energy sources supplying energy to the EV charging sector. Generally, the energy generated from renewables is stored in batteries located onsite at the EV charging sites. That way, the energy can be easily accessed during times of peak demand.