Dr Björn Sturmberg, who is the research leader of ANU’s Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program says vehicle-to-grid offers multifaceted solutions to Australia’s energy woes including reduced prices and increased grid resilience. Sturmberg thinks EV owners can get an even better deal than free charging when it comes to V2G.
“The opportunities for V2G to generate revenue in Australia are significant, due in no small part to the volatility of an electricity market with concentrated market power and aging fossil fuel generators as illustrated earlier this week in Victoria.” said Sturmberg.
On Wednesday after storms in Victoria cut transmission lines leaving 500,000 households without power, wholesale electricity prices spiked as high as $16,600/MWh.
Sturmberg thinks that V2G has the potential to provide a lot more financial benefit than free charging to EV owners.
“Our research shows that the potential income from V2G will in many cases far exceed the cost of EV charging, meaning drivers ought to receive more than just free charging.”
He also believes EV owners should be incentivised to keep their vehicles connected as much as possible.
“For the grid – and thereby for the reliability and affordability of all Australian’s electricity supply – the most important aspect of EV usage is that EVs are plugged in to chargers (or a regular power outlet) as often as possible,” he says.
“This provides the greatest flexibility in their charging, to reduce the cost of electricity generation as well as, critically, the costs of network maintenance and emissions. This requires a shift in drivers’ behaviours, to habitually plug in their EVs whenever parked.”
Sturmberg says he wants to see innovation and trials of tariffs that provide incentives for every minute that EVs are plugged in and available for managed (‘smart’) charging and says this has the potential to be very effective even before including V2G.
On the impacts of V2G to EV battery life Stumberg thinks provided systems are well managed, there’s no need for concerns around battery degradation.
“The impact of V2G (and driving) on batteries is primarily determined by the state of charge of the battery and the rate at which power is injected or drawn out of the battery,” says Sturmberg.
“Well managed V2G, that keeps the state of charge of vehicles within batteries’ comfort zone (generally 30-80%), will have a very modest impact – and in some studies has been shown to improve battery health compared to unmanaged charging by reducing the amount of time that batteries are at a very high state of charge.”