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Canberra set to host world leading electric vehicle grid trial

Victoria’s first fully electric bus depot will be charging 27 buses in Melbourne’s north by early 2024 as part of the Victorian Government’s Zero Emissions Bus Trial.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency, on behalf of the Federal Government, announced $2.4 million in funding for electricity and gas provider ActewAGL to demonstrate vehicle-to-grid (V2G) services.

V2G technology involves plug in electric vehicles (EVs) to work with the power grid to store and give back energy when it is needed most. Essentially V2G vehicles become batteries on wheels.

The Realising Electric Vehicle-to-Grid Services (REVS) project will see 51 Nissan LEAF EVs deployed across the ACT to test and provide V2G services.

As part of the state government’s fleet, when plugged in the cars will provide Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS) to the National Electricity Market (NEM).

The project will be the first time that a fleet of vehicles using bi-directional chargers will supply FCAS to the NEM and thereby provide services that improve energy security and avoid blackouts.

The EV fleet will be paid for providing electricity services which will be a test for potential new revenue streams that could improve the total cost of ownership for EVs.

ActewAGL will be working alongside a consortium of academic, government, transport and electricity system partners including the Australian National University (ANU), JET Charge, Evoenergy, SG Fleet, ACT Government and Nissan.

EVs will replace traditional combustion-engine vehicles used by the ACT Government. They will be used in normal working hours and will be plugged in when not on the road, which is estimated to allow around 70 per cent availability for providing grid services.

Following the trial the ANU will lead development of a roadmap for the commercialisation of V2G technology for all stakeholders.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said this trial is an important first step in demonstrating how EVs can support the grid.

“V2G has the opportunity to transform a vehicle into a revenue generating device for consumers, through access to energy and network service markets and also to provide power solutions for the grid,” Miller said.

“As EV uptake grows, this project will help to unlock a future where EVs are just as critical a piece of the electricity sector as the transport sector.”

ActewAGL’s Group Manager of Product and Strategic Energy Deployments, Todd Eagles said what’s unique about the REVS project is that we have valuable contributions from across the electricity and transport supply chains.

“It’s a powerful collective of stakeholders invested in supporting the uptake of renewables through vehicle-to-grid capabilities, which have an important role to play in ensuring the resilience and reliability of our energy system,” Eagles said.

“Owners of electric vehicles can also benefit from financial incentives as a result of their electric vehicles being able to facilitate the two-way flow of energy, thereby reducing their overall vehicle costs.”

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