Electric vehicle charging stations will be tested to balance the grid

Posted by Karolis Mirinavičius

THE SMART ENERGY SOLUTIONS COMPANY - Ignitis and the Lithuanian electricity transmission system operator Litgrid together with the Estonian start-up Fusebox have started implementing the first pilot project in our country, during which the possibilities of using the electric car charging station network for electricity system balancing, stability and security will be evaluated.

The Ministry of Energy plans that the number of electric car charging stations in Lithuania should increase to 60,000 in the next decade. In the future, the rapidly growing network of charging stations and the number of electric vehicles will have a significant impact on the entire electrical system. However, the successful application of smart charging solutions for electric vehicles could become one of the key elements in the energy system of the future as a new flexibility tool for balancing the system.

During the balancing of the grid, a balance between electricity generation and consumption is ensured in real time. From 2021, balancing services can be provided not only by electricity producers, but also by independent demand aggregators, who can reduce consumption if necessary for a certain fee.

During the pilot project, two Ignitis ON charging network stations - 50kW and 22kW - will be connected to the Fusebox virtual power system remotely. At that time, one electric car will be charged at the above-mentioned stations, and during this process, the charging power will be reduced by set increments. The purpose of the test is to determine how the charging power can be reliably and stably reduced in the event of such a demand in the grid.

“This smart solution can help optimize the charging of electric vehicles for both customers and the entire power system. In the future, two-way energy movement will enable electric cars to be used for system balancing and power frequency management, while at the same time opening up new market entrants to the market for system services. In order to avoid additional costs later by upgrading electric vehicle charging stations with smart charging solutions, we must take action against the massive development of electric vehicle infrastructure and assess now what type of electric vehicle charging stations will be the most suitable in the future” says Audrius Baranauskas, Litgrid Innovation Manager.

According to Paulius Kozlovas, Head of Innovation at Ignitis Group, with the rapid transition of the energy sector from fossil fuels to the use of renewable resources, the need for balancing electricity networks is constantly growing. As a result, there is increasing talk in the world of using electric vehicle charging infrastructure to balance the network. The successful use of the electric vehicle charging network for network balancing would not only allow it to expand faster in the country, but would also reduce infrastructure maintenance costs and electric vehicle charging station tariffs for flexible users. Depending on the results of the test, the wider use of Ignitis ON stations for network balancing could be considered in the future.

"Utilization of EV charging stations for grid balancing has great and untapped potential in the energy of the future. This project is the first attempt in Lithuania to use electric vehicle infrastructure for network needs. In addition, it is important in that it is being implemented with the Estonian start-up Fusebox, in which Ignitis Innovation Fund invested for the first time in 2018. We are glad that the technologies and services developed by this energy start-up are used to implement the energy-smart world solutions developed by Ignitis Group, ”says P. Kozlovas, Head of Innovation at Ignitis Group.

Ignitis Innovation Fund, managed by Contrarian Ventures, has invested in the Estonian start-up Fusebox back in 2018, a total of 150 000 euros.

Established in 2017 Ignitis Innovation Fund has already invested about 6 million EUR in 17 companies based in seven countries around the world developing new technologies in energy and electrified mobility that could be applied at Ignitis Group. The fund has invested in these start-ups together with 40 co-investment partners, including such well-known companies as carmakers Hyundai and Honda, and the energy giant BP.

Prepared by Ignitis Group Innovation Project Manager - Karolis Mirinavičius

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