South Australia leads on vehicle to grid capability 

Woman plugging in EV to charge (vehicle to grid)
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SA Power Networks has become the first electricity distributor in Australia to allow network connection of vehicle to grid (V2G) electric vehicle (EV) chargers. 

Vehicle to grid allows both charging and discharging of EV batteries, which can be many times larger than a typical stationary battery being installed at homes and offer a significant source of energy. 

Related article: Vehicle-to-grid tech could help with grid stability

There currently are only two EV models capable of sending power from on-board batteries back to the grid—Nissan’s Leaf and Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV. Their batteries are 39kWh or 59kWh for the Leaf and 13kWh for the Outlander PHEV. The average home in SA uses roughly 13kWh a day. 

The technology that makes vehicle to grid possible is a bi-directional inverter which is planned to be available in SA in early 2023 from supplier JET Charge

Their inverter meets all Australian Standards and has been added to the list of compatible inverters on SA Power Network’s SmartApply application—which sellers of equipment and installers use to obtain network approval for equipment they are installing and connecting to the network. 

SA Power Networks head of corporate affairs Paul Roberts said it was likely other products allowing two-way energy flows would become available. 

“This is very much part of the future where customers invest in various energy sources such as rooftop solar, home batteries and vehicle batteries and are more active participants in the supply and management of electricity,” Roberts said. 

“In the long term we see people taking advantage of cheap energy during the day to charge their vehicles and then being able to sell that energy back into the grid at peak times when it may be needed. 

“People who shift energy for transport away from petrol/diesel to electricity can make significant savings on their current household energy costs.” 

Roberts said there was a large amount of spare capacity in the network to support 100,000s of EVs and avoid unnecessary investment in network capacity. 

Related article: Three ways electric vehicles will impact the electricity grid

“Smart chargers and connections are essential for this future. They will deliver benefits to customers and network managers like SA Power Networks—allowing us to manage energy flows securely and also avoid the need for large-scale investment in additional network capacity.” 

Roberts said while vehicle to grid equipment was expensive now, the price would come down as sales of EVs and chargers grow, with EV sales in Australia forecast to reach half of all new cars sold by 2035. 

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