Vehicle to grid technology has the potential to boost overall electric grid reliability. Vehicle to grid (V2G) technology enables electric vehicles to plug in to the grid to recharge, and also to discharge electricity that is not needed back into the grid by virtue of the vehicles’ storage batteries. This is a relatively new idea, as it was revealed just a few years ago by industry experts that electric vehicle batteries can indeed facilitate this 2-way flow of electricity.
California’s Efforts to Enable Vehicle to Grid Technology
California is leading the way when it comes to electric vehicles, and as such much of the buzz around V2G is coming from the Golden State. In fact, although the final report has yet to be published, a massive 2-year proof-of-concept study was recently completed by SoCal Edison and the California ISO.
The study involved 32 electric vehicles that were deployed to constantly maintain a pre-determined grid frequency. The study also demonstrated how vehicle to grid efforts could help with emergency restoration by utilizing solar-powered charging technology to provide localized power even during an outage.
Despite these early efforts, V2G technology has a long way to go before it can supplement the grid on a large-scale basis. The key barrier is that the individual automakers are developing their own proprietary communication protocols, which obviously will restrict ubiquitous adoption. To combat this, the Electric Power Research Institute is spearheading the development of an open-source cloud-based communication platform that would be adaptable to all electric vehicles via a “universal translator,” but this will take years to fully consummate.
In the meantime, V2G technology is something that I will definitely be keeping a close eye on. Anything that can help fortify and stabilize the grid is useful from an emergency preparedness perspective, and I will be anxiously awaiting the day when vehicle to grid technology becomes fully ubiquitous.