wiredinUSA August 2020

Nissan Leaf Electric Car

EVs for grid stability

A fleet of 51 electric vehicles will be connected to Australia’s biggest power grid to help protect it against blackouts and voltage fluctuations. This first trial of the technology will be carried out in Canberra, and will assess how effectively car batteries can stabilize an electricity network. The ACT government is providing most of the Nissan Leaf vehicles chosen for the test; the Nissans have two-way batteries, so can be charged from the grid but also provide power if needed. Widespread blackouts in South Australia in 2016, when a storm damaged aging electricity towers, led the state to build the world’s biggest battery to support the grid during crises, but power blackouts continue to be an issue for the country.

The ACT project’s research leader, Bjorn Sturmberg, said: “When electric cars are plugged in, they could be called on in a heartbeat to avoid a mass power outage. They’ll only have to do this a couple of dozen times a year, when there’s a storm or some other emergency in the grid [that] means the grid needs power really quickly.” In most cases, the plugged-in car would only be needed for up to 15 minutes at a time, draining the battery by no more than 5 percent. Dr Sturmberg added that car owners who offered their vehicles to help protect the grid could expect to earn about $1,000 a year by doing so.


wiredInUSA - August 2020

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