Green Mountain Power (GMP) recently announced the successful deployment of what the company says is a first-of-its kind vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charger to reduce energy use on the grid during peak demand. The GMP is the first utility to install and successfully integrate this new charger technology with the grid and one of its electric fleet vehicles to draw energy from the car to help lower demands on the grid when peaks in energy needs occur. This work shows how electric vehicles (EVs) and the clean energy they store can become a reliable source of power to reduce peak demands which will, in turn, save money and reduce carbon.
"This is an important first step in proving that V2G technology is possible. The GMP has long committed to using advancements in energy technology to increase clean energy storage capabilities so that we can deploy that power when it's needed the most to reduce carbon and costs for all customers," said Mari McClure, the GMP's president and CEO.
The GMP installed a bidirectional Fermata EV charger at its Colchester, Vermont, office in October. The charger is now drawing energy from the company's 2019 Nissan Leaf during energy peaks. The vehicle is regularly used by employees, charges at the GMP office, and has joined the GMP's network of stored energy. The GMP has also stored energy in home batteries like Tesla's Powerwalls. For context, the Nissan EV battery holds about four times as much energy as one Powerwall, showing promise in the amount of energy storage that can be achieved using vehicles, especially as more and more Vermonters make the switch to EVs.
This work is an example of what is known as V2G energy sharing. V2G technology has long been viewed as an important part of a cleaner, more resilient energy system. The energy sharing helps reduce demand on the grid during energy peaks, when power can be most expensive and carbon-intensive for customers. This successful launch shows how V2G can work in the real world to reduce costs and carbon for Vermonters while still ensuring individuals have ample battery charge in their vehicles to meet transportation needs.
"In 2020 alone, we estimate that the GMP and its customers have stored and dispatched 6.7 GWh of energy, equivalent to powering 550 homes for a full year. We have been able to shave peak demand this year by 177 MW, reducing US$3.2 million in costs for customers and reducing carbon by about 6.8 million pounds, which is like taking 660 gas-powered cars off the road for one year," McClure said.
"This is an exciting example of how EVs can help transform the grid. Transportation is the top cause of carbon pollution in our state, so shifting to EVs is one of the most important things we can do. We see this innovative work that the GMP is doing as yet another way to harness the many benefits that driving electric offers to Vermont and Vermonters," said Jared Duval, executive director of Energy Action Network.
Virtual Peaker, which grew in the GMP's incubator Inspire Space four years ago, makes the software platform that the GMP will be using to integrate the charger and dispatch the battery during energy peaks. Virtual Peaker's software is already used by the company to manage other devices like Powerwalls. The GMP also partnered with Fermata Energy on this project, whose charger technology showed promise in early research testing.
"The GMP is the first utility dispatching power directly to its distribution grid leveraging V2G technology integrated with a demand response management system (DERMS) software platform. Together, this work is helping the GMP reduce systemwide peaks to save GMP customers money," said David Slutzky, founder and CEO of Fermata Energy.
The GMP plans to launch a pilot program for customers in the coming year and offer this option to businesses that are electrifying their fleets of cars and buses. For more information, visit here.