The University of Delaware and NRG Energy have officially sold energy from electric vehicles to PJM Interconnection, proving for the first time that electric vehicle-to-grid technology can sell electricity from electric vehicles to the power grid.
The University and NRG began work in September 2011 to move from research results to prepare to commercialize the technology, which provides a two-way interface between EVs and the power grid that enables vehicle owners to sell electricity back to the grid while they are charging their EVs.
On Feb. 27, the project took a big step forward when it became an official participant in the PJM’s frequency regulation market. Frequency regulation is used to balance supply and demand on the grid second-by-second. Since then, the project has been selling power services from a fleet of EVs to PJM, a regional transmission organization that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity and whose territory has 60 million people in the 13 Mid-Atlantic states.
The first sale demonstrates that EVs can provide both mobility and stationary power while helping making the grid more resilient and ultimately generating revenue for electric vehicle owners, NRG says.
A key aspect of the technology is that it can aggregate power from multiple electric vehicles to create one larger power resource, rather than individual, smaller ones.
Additional company partnerships that make up the entire system shown include BMW providing the vehicles, Milbank Manufacturing providing charging stations based on University of Delaware technology, AutoPort Inc. installing University of Delaware control technology into the electric vehicles and others.
For grid operators, the technology serves as an innovative new approach to energy storage. It has the potential to balance the power provided by intermittent renewable resources such as wind and solar, the university said. Energy storage, such as large-scale batteries or those in a fleet of vehicles, can take the wind’s power generated at night and store it to use when demand is higher.
Researchers from the US Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have designed a low-cost, long-life battery that could enable solar and wind energy to become major suppliers to the electrical grid. The battery, similar to the functionality of University of Delaware’s electric vehicle project, is able to smooth out the peaks and valleys of the intermittent power that inherently come from wind and solar generation.