TenneT investigates bidirectional charging management for EVs

European transmission system operator (TSO) TenneT expands pilot testing impacts of electric vehicles (EV) on the grid.

The ‘Bidirectional charging management’ project, which was launched in 2019, has moved into its next phase with the handover of 20 BMW i3 test vehicles to customers.

A further 30 vehicles will be handed over to commercial users over the next few weeks.

In the broad-based pilot project TenneT is leading an investigation on technological solutions to use intelligent bidirectional charging control of EVs for grid stability.

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In the first phase, self-consumption from the power generated by the users’ own photovoltaic system will be optimised. In the second phase, vehicle-to-grid functions are added, with which users can participate in new business models for energy trading and electricity grid stabilisation.

In a third phase, users with EV fleets will be added. These will use the vehicles as short-term storage to avoid power demand peaks in the daily load profile.

“We are interested in finding new ways to flexibly control renewable electricity production, which is highly dependent on the weather, and thus relieve the burden on the electricity grid,” says TenneT COO Tim Meyerjürgens.

“Intelligent charging control of EVs can complement grid expansion and become one of the building blocks of the energy transition. And at the same time, of course, we also want to give the owners of the vehicles the opportunity to contribute to the successful implementation of the energy transition as active customers.”

In the future, EVs are expected to be used to provide system services, which today are mainly provided by conventional large-scale power plants. These include the balancing of transport bottlenecks in the electricity grid and frequency deviations.

Because more and more conventional power plants are being switched off, TenneT is investigating how new small scale flexibility options, i.e. below 100kW, including EVs, can be integrated into the system service processes and markets in the future.

To support the integration of these resources, TenneT and other TSOs have collaborated on the development of the blockchain based Equigy Crowd Balancing Platform.

The integration of EVs to the grid at scale requires a variety of innovations in the areas of vehicle technology, charging hardware, charging management and communication interfaces to the energy industry stakeholders as well as with regard to legal framework conditions.

These were developed by the participating partners in the first phase of the project. In addition to the BMW Group as consortium leader and TenneT, other partners are the distribution grid operator Bayernwerk Netz GmbH, charging hardware provider KOSTAL Industrie Elektrik GmbH, software supplier KEO GmbH, and research organisations Forschungsstelle für Energiewirtschaft eV, Forschungsgesellschaft für Energiewirtschaft mbH, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie and University of Passau.