EV batteries could meet short-term grid storage needs – study

Electric school bus with V2G capability Source: Proterra

EV batteries alone could provide short-term support to the grid as the world transitions to renewable energy, according to new research published yesterday.

the to learnentitled “Electric vehicle batteries alone could cover short-term grid storage needs by 2030”, was published in nature communication.

The researchers “quantify the global EV battery capacity available for grid storage using an integrated model that accounts for future EV battery deployment, battery degradation and market participation.” They look at the major EV battery markets in China, the European Union and the United States as well the so-called “rest of the world” region.

They write that EV batteries can be used both in vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capacity and after the end of vehicle life if they are removed and stored stationary.

The researchers, who say their estimates are conservative, claim that low participation rates of just 12-43% are needed to meet short-term grid storage needs globally, and that demand could be met in most regions as early as 2030. And beyond 2030:

We estimate a total technical capacity of 32-62 TWh by 2050. This is significantly higher than the 3.4-19.2 TWh needed by 2050 in IRENA and Storage Lab scenarios.

Electrek’s take

This is an extremely interesting study, and at first it’s kind of exciting. But ultimately I tend to read it as theoretical because I don’t know if people would believe that. There are many factors that need to be considered. What about vehicle depreciation? Do people want to share their EV power with the grid? What would encourage people to do this?

Also, the EV industry hasn’t really adopted V2G (although, as mentioned above, Proterra has adopted it on its school buses and V2G could be great on school buses and other commercial fleets).

I live in Vermont and am registered with Green Mountain Power’s Tesla Powerwall Program. I am going to have GMP install two powerwalls in my house and they can use them to balance the grid. If bad weather is expected they won’t pull out of the powerwalls so I have backup power. And I’m going to get a solar panel and hook it up to the powerwalls too. At $55 a month, getting backup power is a lot cheaper than actually buying Powerwalls.

But if GMP wanted to use my electric vehicles to stabilize its network, it would have to offer really good incentives. I like being in control of my car and knowing how much charge is in it and I think other drivers will feel the same as we’ve seen in the past and that’s why V2G hasn’t really taken off.

What do you think of this study? Let us know in the comments below.

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