Vehicle to grid trial to test EVs as 'batteries on wheels' in remote WA town

Horizon Power will test how electric vehicles can be incorporated into regional microgrids and used as mobile energy storage solutions.

Horizon Power, Western Australia’s state-owned regional and remote energy provider, has announced plans to conduct the state’s first orchestration trial of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology in the small resort town of Exmouth.

The trial will help Horizon Power’s understanding of how energy stored in electric vehicles (EVs) can be incorporated into regional microgrids, and how EVs can be used as mobile energy storage solutions, or batteries on wheels.

Horizon Power hopes that the trial will inform how automated orchestration of distributed energy resources (DER) can help increase and optimise the use of renewable energy through storage in electric vehicles while also maintaining network reliability.

“As EV ownership increases, orchestration of DER represents one of the largest enablers of the energy transition,” said Stephanie Unwin, CEO of Horizon Power.

“The EV Orchestration Trial will provide us with valuable insights around whether our customers’ next cars can help power their homes, keep downward pressure on their power bills and help stabilise our electricity grid.”

Vehicle-to-grid technology, better known as V2G, is different to vehicle-to-home (V2H) technology, in that two-way V2G power transfer is generally controlled by the utility, allowing the utility to access energy stored in a vehicle during periods of high demand or risk, and allocate recharging to times of low demand.

V2H technology allows EV owners to use their EVs as personal storage devices – powering everything from appliance within their homes through to tools on a worksite or amenities while camping.

Horizon Power’s V2G trial will take place over a 12-month period starting immediately in partnership with the Gascoyne Development Commission, Shire of Exmouth, Exmouth Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and WA Country Health Service, which operates Exmouth Hospital.

Each partner organisation will receive a Nissan Leaf EV and V2G smart-charging equipment provided by Jet Charge and will be encouraged to use their vehicles as they normally would any other vehicle.

“Horizon Power is committed to exploring this innovative technology to provide customers with more choice and to prepare for the anticipated increase in power supply in response to residential, fleet, and visitor EV charging needs within regional WA,” continued Unwin.

“The trial supports the State Government’s commitment to reduce public sector carbon emissions by 80% by 2030 and becoming net zero by 2050.

“It is destinations, such as Exmouth, with World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef, that easily, and visibly remind us all why the work we do towards reducing emissions is important.”

Exmouth was chosen for Horizon Power’s V2G trial due to its tourism-reliant economy, which fluctuates due to daily and seasonal demand – especially during school holiday periods.

Joshua Hill
May 15, 2024
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