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Nissan begins testing combination of LEAF EVs and “LEAF to Home” for grid demand response services

Nissan Motor Corporation has begun testing in Japan of a system to use electric vehicle technology to help power grids cope with peaks in demand.

Nissan is using Nissan LEAF EVs paired with the LEAF to Home power supply system (earlier post) for demand response testing at several of its sales outlets run by subsidiary Kanagawa Nissan Co., Ltd. to assess the effectiveness of EV batteries when used for energy management. The tests are being conducted by ENERES Co., Ltd.

Demand response is a strategy to make power grids more efficient by modifying consumers’ power consumption in consideration of available energy supply. Since the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011 the supply and demand of electricity during peak use hours in Japan has drawn attention. Under the demand response scheme, power companies request aggregators to use energy conservation measures, and they are compensated for the electricity that they save.

Usually when energy-saving is requested consumers may respond by moderating their use of air conditioning and lighting. However, by using the storage capacity of electric vehicles and Vehicle to Home (V2H) systems, consumers can reduce their use of power at peak times without turning off lights and appliances. This is particularly useful in commercial establishments where it is difficult to turn power off to save electricity.

The demand response scheme involves assessing the usefulness of energy-saving measures using V2H systems during peak-use periods and analyzing the impact of monetary incentives on business.

For example, the testing involves a LEAF and LEAF to Home system which is connected to power a Nissan dealer’s lighting system during regular business hours using stored battery energy. This reduces electricity demand on the power grid. The aggregator is then compensated for the equivalent of the total amount of electricity that is saved. Two or three tests per month will be conducted on designated days for three hours’ each time sometime between 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. from October 2014 through January 2015.

Field tests using EVs’ high-capacity batteries that are being conducted globally are proving their effectiveness in energy management, Nissan noted. For example, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), along with 8 automakers (not including Nissan) and 16 utilities and regional transmission organizations is demonstrating the Open Vehicle-Grid Integration (VGI) Platform software system, developed by EPRI and Sumitomo Electric Industries. The software is an advanced software platform for integrating plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) with smart grid technologies. (Earlier post.) Today in Sacramento, California, the partners are showcasing demand response and load curtailment capabilities through a single standards-based interface.

Additionally, if similar compensation schemes for energy-saving activities were applied to EV owners it could accelerate the wider adoption of EVs and reduce society’s carbon footprint, Nissan suggested.

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