This pioneering project in Portugal and Europe, created at Galp's innovation centre, aims to demonstrate that investment in electric vehicles can generate revenue for users. After a year as a pilot project on the island of S. Miguel in the Azores, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology was unveiled to the public at the Ecar Show, Hybrid and Electric Motor Show held at Jardim do Arco do Cego in Lisbon. “The balance is extremely positive”, declares Rui Vieira, the head of electric mobility at Galp, in a chat with Energiser.
The pilot project involved ten EDA (Eletricidade dos Açores) vehicles, the batteries of which were used not only to charge energy for mobility, but – using V2G technology – also to accumulate more energy than was injected into the building at the end of each day. In 'normal' use, explains Rui Vieira, we would be talking about a total of 12 megawatts. “Using this technology we surpassed the 120 megawatt mark, or in other words, ten times more”.
Changing the paradigm for the use of electric vehicles by changing the economic model was one of the goals of the V2G project. “Electric vehicles were viewed merely as a source of fuel savings, greater energy efficiency and a guarantee of more sustainable mobility”, says Rui Vieira. Now, “they can be a source of revenue”, he adds.
Based on a decentralised logic of bi-directional energy flows, V2G technology enables an electric car to charge its battery or, alternatively, to feed the energy from the battery into the electricity grid. This process guarantees the Galp manager monthly savings of around 50 euros through the arbitrage of energy alone. “If we add the injection of energy to the grid, which is yet to be regulated, these savings are even greater”. Basically, he reinforces, users act as active agents in the provision of auxiliary services to the electricity system.
Moreover, he says, “electric vehicles managed in an aggregated manner can serve as a stabilising element for the grid”. This technology also enables us to help increase the penetration of renewable energies through, for example, the “possibility of charging an electric vehicle´s battery at night, using surplus wind energy”, says Rui Vieira.
“Electric vehicle batteries can be charged at night using surplus wind energy”
Having tested the concept and ascertained the advantages and potential of the technology, the next step is to ensure that the regulatory framework for this grid service ensures that the electricity services are duly remunerated, “and that this framework enables us to join the market with a good proposal", stresses Rui Vieira. The mobility manager believes that the project has enormous potential for immediate implementation in both the business and residential markets. “The project started out with a very limited scope, on an island, but we want to do more, taking advantage of its digital load to enable it to be implemented anywhere in the country in a rapid, efficient manner”, he concludes.