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Why vehicle-to-grid charging could be the cheapest way to secure renewable energy

  • Tech
  • Electricity generation
  • Hybrid electric vehicle
  • Vehicle-to-grid

Why vehicle-to-grid charging could be the cheapest way to secure renewable energy

The UK electricity system is ability cogent and rapid change. It has the world’s better installed accommodation of adopted wind, has finer chock-full breeding electricity from coal, and has recorded a 20% drop in demand since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, this alteration from traditional, reliable coal to weather-dependent wind and solar bearing brings with it accretion challenges to match electrical supply and demand at every instant. This is where large grid-scale energy accumulator systems could help adapt and buffer supply and demand, and advance grid control.

The UK government afresh appear the abatement of planning barriers to architecture energy accumulator projects over 50MW in England and 350MW in Wales. This, the government feels, will enable the conception of cogent new energy accumulator capacity. The UK currently has 1GW of operational array accumulator units and an added 13.5GW of array projects under development at the planning stage.

This action by the government creates a planning ambiance that could enable the UK to reach its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. This could happen with either a high admeasurement of large-scale, centralised renewable generation, or with more of a antecedence on abate association schemes such as locally owned wind turbines and solar panels. Batteries will, in particular, accord decidedly to the grid adjustment of a added 30GW of adopted wind by 2030 (to accomplish the UK target of 40GW of adopted wind by that year).

But advancing ever larger, anchored array systems may not be the optimal band-aid for the UK to have a renewable energy future. Instead, the answer could lie in the country’s garages and car parks.

As the UK has moved from fossil fuel to renewable energy electricity generation, CO? emissions from the energy supply sector have fallen from over 40% of the UK total in 1990 to 25% in 2019. This means the carriage sector is now the better emitter, bearing a third of all UK CO? emissions.

This has led to a growing focus on the addition of constituent hybrid and all-electric vehicles. As just one in ten cars sold in the UK fall into the these categories, there is still some way to go to abbreviation the impact of petrol and diesel vehicles. Decidedly more basement is needed to abutment them, and their growing acceptance increases the amount of electricity that the grid needs to provide, one-third of which is still produced from accustomed gas.

However, electric cartage could also help with making electricity assembly greener. When an electric agent is acquainted in for re-charging, it is finer enabling the electricity grid to access its battery. When you have many cartage all acquainted in at once, they create a very large aggregated array store. This is a abstraction known as vehicle-to-grid (V2G), and could create a much larger and cheaper another energy store than anchored large array systems.

There are 38.2m accountant cartage in the UK, including some 31.5m cars. If these were all array electric cartage (each autumn an boilerplate of 50kWh of energy and affiliated via a 7kW charger), this could create a civic broadcast mega array with a accommodation of 220.5GW. This would be over 15 times the size of the currently planned large array storage.

Cheaper option

The costs of this aggregated array would also be much easier to bear as alone agent owners would acquirement the cars and batteries, instead of government and clandestine investors having to spend millions on big projects. The cost of electric agent batteries has fallen some 87% over the last ten years to an boilerplate of US$156/kWh (£123/kWh), and is on a aisle to reach around US$100/kWh by 2023.

Large grid-scale anchored array system costs are at least double this amount. This is because civil engineering works, cabling, enclosures, power electronics and even air conditioning systems for acclimation array temperature are all appropriate for large anchored array systems.

Vehicle-to-grid accumulator is still a beginning concept. It requires committed two-way charging accessories that can also acquaint with the vehicles, as well high-level aggregator ascendancy systems. However all of this technology exists.

Indeed there are a range of V2G demonstrator projects within the UK. Nissan, in particular, has accepted this technology and already offers a more limited_ vehicle-to-home (V2H) system that lets people use their cars to store energy from rooftop solar panels until it is needed in the home at night.

So while the UK government is actual that the civic grid needs more energy accumulator to abutment the shift to added renewable energy generation, a focus on architecture large, big-ticket batteries isn’t necessarily the answer. Instead, electric cartage could enable the British public to calmly share their cars to help create a cleaner, more altruistic post-COVID world.The Conversation

Published August 1, 2020 — 17:00 UTC

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