Electric Vehicle Software Platform Supports Grid Reliability

October 15, 2014 By Karen Henry

EPRI-logo-energy-manageA new software platform developed by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Sumitoma Electric Industries allows utilities to adjust plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging loads up and down to accommodate the intermittent availability of renewable energy sources. This capability is particularly important in California, which requires 33 percent of electric generation to be met by renewables by 2020.

EPRI, along with eight auto manufacturers, utilities and regional transmission organizations, will demonstrate the Open Vehicle-Grid Integration (VGI) Platform software system on Oct. 16.

By facilitating communication with PEVs, the open VGI platform enables utilities to take advantage of the vehicles’ built-in smart charging capabilities and deploy them to support grid reliability, stability and efficiency. A utility will be able to send requests to the PEV through a public broadband connection or the vehicle’s on-board control system to turn charging on or off or to reduce the charging power level when conditions on the grid require a load reduction to offset peaks in electricity use.

The process for managing PEV charging will be transparent to the vehicle owner. Vehicle owners maintain ultimate control and would have the option to participate in a demand response and load management program managed either by the utility or by a third party, or opt out altogether.

In the next development phase, the EPRI team will integrate the PEV communications platform with residential, fleet and commercial facility energy management systems. This will enable testing of its ability to manage local control scenarios such as demand management for commercial and industrial consumers. Additionally, it will enable interface communications for charging stations and commercial demand response facilitators.

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