At Enel X, electric cars charge the grid

Terna's experimental project, which involves Enel's corporate fleet of electric cars connected to V1G charging infrastructure, allows greater grid flexibility and stability and more efficient use of infrastructures and energy resources

Published on 21 September 2018

At Enel X, electric cars charge the grid

Demand Response has made a strong start in Italy, also thanks to the latest auction published by Terna as a result of which Enel X has established itself as Italy’s top aggregator. Terna’s pilot project for Enabled Virtual Consumption Units (UVAC) involves some industrial plants and the charging infrastructures in the car parks of Enel X offices.

This experimental project provides for the participation of part of the company’s electric car sharing fleet for internal use connected to the unidirectional (V1G) charging infrastructures. Enel X’s smart infrastructures are connected to a management and monitoring platform that enables the aggregation of resources and the automatic variation, following external inputs, of the power absorbed by each electric car. This is where Demand Response steps in. This technology allows commercial and industrial consumers to respond to market signals, increasing or reducing their energy consumption, with the aim of reacting to peaks in supply or demand for electricity, providing greater grid flexibility and stability and a more efficient use of infrastructure and energy resources. 

In this specific case, Terna provides the external input necessary for the management platform to which the Enel X charging stations are connected, in order to reduce the load. More precisely, the platform reduces the power absorbed during the active charging processes at the required time and then restores the initial situation, in response to the needs of the grid operator.

But how is it possible that a car can contribute to the electricity grid? The on-board technology of electric vehicles is integrated with that of the VGI (Vehicle Grid Integration) network, exploiting batteries as a source of distributed energy storage and aggregating them, through the management platform, with the various flexible resources. This is an added value for the electrical ecosystem and is of tremendous value when it comes to efficiency and sustainability, for which this technology is a standard bearer. This virtuous circle can reduce the overall cost of using electric cars for end customers, allowing them to participate personally not only in the programme, while being remunerated for their contribution to the grid, but also in a new model of zero-impact mobility and the spread of the electric culture. The essential ingredient for this innovative revolution is the charging infrastructure, the true heart of this technology, of which Enel has two different macro-categories, unidirectional infrastructures (V1G) and bidirectional infrastructures (V2G).

But what happens in technical terms? A particular piece of equipment is installed, so that the aggregator is able to record measurements in real time, which will then be aggregated with other measurements and finally be sent to Terna. Enel X’s role in this experimental project is that of an “enabling” actor capable of aggregating widespread resources or facilitating the participation of existing potential demand, mediating the supply of Demand Response services with the electricity system.

Is it really possible, therefore, to contribute to the stability of the grid with the battery of one’s own car, participating in protecting the health of the planet while even making a profit?

There is only one answer to this question. And it is Enel X.

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