One of the big things anti-EV FUDsters like to say is that the power grid can’t handle electric vehicles. They know that ICE vehicles use a lot of energy to get around, and that supplying that much electricity must be a sure recipe for disaster. They want us to believe that the power grid is already collapsing and that EVs will take us all back to the Stone Age.
The truth is more complicated (which makes it so easy to spread FUD). For starters, EVs don’t waste as much energy as ICE cars, so they don’t need the same amount of electricity. They can also be charged at night, when there is less demand from the grid in most places. The electricity grid can also grow to meet the new demand, just as it has in recent decades.
But more importantly, EVs can also become part of the solution, not just a problem for utilities and drivers. Not only can charging be optimized to meet a utility’s needs, but they can also feed power back into the grid at critical times to help stabilize it.
We’re not quite ready to do this at scale yet, but it’s something the industry is working on. Vehicles are starting to be able to charge in two directions and standards are evolving.
Part of the story of getting that capability going is out of the hands of utilities and manufacturers. Between the utility company and the manufacturer is not only the owner of the vehicle, but also the hardware and software that not only needs to be installed, but can also be purchased.
Therefore one recent announcement of Sunverge and Eaton is important.
Sunverge and Eaton have announced an expanded partnership to provide dynamic home charging infrastructure management for electric vehicles. The two companies’ advanced technologies will be combined to maximize the value of electric vehicle charging while improving the resilience, reliability and flexibility of the grid. Sunverge’s intelligent power management platform and real-time multi-service virtual power plant (VPP) platform will enable utilities to better manage load requirements, enabling optimal use of available resources, while Sunverge’s innovative EV charging solutions Help Eaton facilitate efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Together, these technologies can provide a comprehensive solution for managing and optimizing residential EV charging infrastructure to meet consumer needs without compromising grid performance or reliability.
“We are excited to expand our partnership with Eaton. Eaton’s powerful EV charging and smart circuit breaker technologies provide a platform for utilities to manage and reap real-time behind-the-meter charging flexibility,” said Martin Milani, CEO of Sunverge. “With the proliferation of electric vehicles, utilities now clearly see an opportunity to better manage EV charging and deploy EVs for much-needed network services. This partnership enables utilities to realize significant upstream profits through real-time DER orchestration, aggregation and dynamic load management and co-optimization on both sides of the meter. The result is greater grid resiliency and overall greater system flexibility and reliability, a win-win situation for both utilities and customers.”
Solar Verge and Eaton’s latest collaboration enables a deeper understanding and management of EV charging at home, which provides greater efficiency and flexibility. Eaton’s smart home technologies, including its EV chargers and smart circuit breakers, enable utilities to better manage load requirements while taking advantage of available resources such as on-site solar and energy storage.
Meanwhile, Sunverge’s cloud-based platform enables the same capabilities while also giving utilities access to a range of network services such as base load management, frequency response, peak load management, black start support and more. Ultimately, this partnership helps optimize residential EV charging infrastructure to meet both consumer needs and grid performance, without sacrificing reliability or resiliency.
“The rapidly growing adoption of EVs has huge implications for the power grid, and we are excited to partner with Sunverge to help utilities make large-scale EV charging deployments work effectively,” said Paul Ryan, Director, Connected Solutions and EV Charging at Eaton. “Smart charging helps utilities and homeowners alike by optimizing the use of on-site renewables, avoiding peak loads and charging EV batteries when rates are lowest.”
What this deal will lead to
The obvious thing this deal could lead to is more virtual power plants. A virtual power plant (VPP) is an integrated system of distributed energy resources (DERs), such as renewable generation, battery storage and electric vehicles, connected to a centralized control system and operated as a single entity. A VPP leverages the combined capabilities of DERs to optimize operations and deliver valuable services to the network. With Sunverge’s intelligent power management platform, utilities can now take advantage of these real-time multi-service VPPs to deliver flexible load management, aggregation, orchestration and value stacking of network services, while also supporting decarbonisation efforts.
At the same time, the thought of handing over control of your EV charging to utilities and governments is likely to put some readers off. Cars should give a driver more freedom and independence, not dependence and control by government and corporations.
The truth is that V2X (vehicle to X, or vehicle to everything) technologies encompass more than just V2G (vehicle to grid). There is also vehicle to home (V2H) and vehicle to load (V2L), something that the owner of a vehicle and home has complete control over.
While virtual power plants can help stabilize the power grid, an EV can instead serve the owner in the event of a power outage, serving as backup power to keep lighting and HVAC running. V2L technology can power everything from construction sites to camping setups, enabling off-grid use.
In other words, smart two-way electric vehicle charging is about much more than just getting individuals to bow down and serve the collective. There are so many options with V2X technology that it can be used to everyone’s benefit and can greatly serve individual choice, the collective interest, or even both at the same time.
That’s why it’s great to see these companies coming together to bring their thoughts and talents together. As V2X and load management technology continue to improve, everyone will be better off, regardless of their needs and philosophies.
I don’t like paywalls. You don’t like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a restricted paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong – and it was always hard to decide what to put behind that. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then less people will read it! We just don’t like paywalls so we decided to drop ours.
Unfortunately, the media business is still a hard, cut-throat business with small margins. It’s a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay afloat or maybe even — gasping for breath – to grow. So …