Newark, Del., unveils “Vehicle-to-Grid” electric concept vehicle
Newark, Del., has become the first electric utility to approve the use of an electric vehicle that stores energy and can return that energy back to the power grid. Developed by researchers at the University of Delaware (UD), the “Vehicle-to Grid” (V2G) is designed to help grid operators smooth power output fluctuations.
V2G vehicles return power to the grid at night while they are plugged in as needed, according to UD Associate Professor of Marine Policy Willett Kempton, one of the researchers in the project. Currently, Kempton said in a statement, there is no storage capacity in the city’s grid system, which means electricity must be generated and used simultaneously. This could be especially problematic as the use of fluctuating renewable sources, such as wind and solar power, come into greater use. “Wind tends to blow stronger at night when the electric load is low,” Kempton said. “If electric vehicles charged at night with wind power, the grid operator could use the energy in the batteries, when vehicles aren’t needed for driving and are plugged in, to help maintain grid reliability. The vehicle owner would then be paid for providing these energy services at a greater value than what they paid for the electricity.”
The UD team is testing V2G vehicles on two outlets in the city’s service territory, and Kempton hopes to have a fleet of six vehicles ready by the end of this year, two at UD and four operated by the state.