Recent predictions of electric vehicle (EV) uptake state that by 2030, 1.2 million EVs will be in use in Belgium. If managed incorrectly, this uptake can impose a significant increase of the evening peak load: during the evening peak, an extra consumption of more than 3 GW is expected. On the other hand, an average car is parked for more than 90% of the time, which means that the inherent flexibility of the charging process and the battery capacity offer great opportunities to the grid. It is clear that EVs are both a threat and an interesting opportunity for Elia Group, and in this sense we have decided that we want to grasp the opportunities before the problems arise.
Elia Group wants to create market products that lead the way in the energy market and the ancillary services by engaging the “kW prosumer”. Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology will help to maximize the participation of small prosumers, by allowing the end user to valorize the inherent flexibility of his EV.
Through pilot projects in different countries, the possibility of using EVs to deliver grid services has been demonstrated. However, in these projects the focus is always put on providing services by means of bidirectional charge poles, which is charge equipment that can both charge and discharge an EV. Since it is not a credible assumption that all future chargers will be bidirectional, it is important to assess whether a pool of EVs connected through both unidirectional and bidirectional charge poles has the potential to deliver the same services.
On top of that, in Belgium no demonstration projects took place so far, so an important factor to be assessed is the match between EVs and the Belgian ancillary services and energy market. Driving profiles of Belgian drivers need to be assessed, in order to understand whether the expectations in terms of comfort can be safeguarded. Furthermore, the Belgian regulatory aspects have yet to be explored.
Bidirectional charge poles (V2G poles) are charge units that can be used to charge and discharge an EV. This means that, next to their conventional use, they are able to draw formerly charged energy from the battery and inject it back into the grid, or feed it to a load or household. Using these charge poles, EVs can be actively used in tackling the problems that might arise with the energy transition.
The project is one of the 11 projects selected by the Flemish government as part of its Clean Power for Transport plan. This plan supports various projects for the use of environmentally friendly vehicles. The grant, worth 149.600 EUR, will enable Elia Group and its project partners to analyze the integration of electric vehicles in the primary reserve market via bidirectional charging stations.