The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved $11.7 million in funding for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to develop three new pilot programs to test how bidirectional electric vehicles (EVs) and chargers can provide power to the electric grid and other benefits to customers.
PG&E will test bidirectional charging technology in a variety of settings, including in homes, businesses and with local microgrids in select high fire-threat districts (HFTDs). The pilots will test the ability for the EV to send power back to the grid and provide power to customers during an outage. PG&E expects its findings will help determine how to maximize the cost-effectiveness of bidirectional charging technology in providing a variety of customer and grid services.
The new pilots are separate and in addition to the collaborations announced in March with both General Motors (earlier post) and Ford Motor Company (earlier post), and will help to inform the Department of Energy Memorandum of Understanding that PG&E and a collaboration of industry, government and labor leaders signed in April focused on accelerating “vehicle-to-everything” technologies.
Each of the new pilot programs offers a financial incentive for participating customers and additional benefits for those in disadvantaged communities. All three are expected to be available to customers in 2022 and 2023 and continue until incentives run out. PG&E expects customers will be able to enroll in the home and business pilots in late summer 2022.
The 400,000 EVs registered in PG&E’s service area along with the quickly growing number of EVs across California represent a flexible grid resource, which could offer cost savings associated with operating and maintaining the grid as well as for customers who own an EV or are a part of a bidirectional EV-enabled community microgrid. Additionally, using EV batteries for power could reduce the need to build new standalone energy storage systems.
The approved pilot programs:
V2X Residential Pilot ($7.5 million). The V2X Residential Pilot will focus on spurring adoption of V2X (bidirectional technologies) for 1,000 single-family residential customers with light-duty EVs by 2023. Residential customers will receive at least $2,500 for enrolling, and up to an additional $2,175 depending on their participation.
The pilot would seek to demonstrate V2X light-duty EVs and show how this technology can reduce the total cost of EV ownership once barriers are overcome. The pilot will seek to prove out five value-streams: backup power in 2022; followed by customer bill management, system real-time energy, system renewable integration and EV export for grid services (such as system resource adequacy, system capacity) in 2023.
V2X Commercial Pilot ($2.7 million). The pilot with business customers will explore how medium- and heavy-duty and possibly light-duty EVs at commercial facilities could help customers and the electric grid in various ways. These include providing backup power to the building if the power is out, optimizing EV charging and discharging to support the deferral of distribution grid upgrades, and aligning EV charging and discharging with the real-time cost of energy procurement. This pilot will be open to approximately 200 business customers who will receive at least $2,500 for enrolling, and up to an additional $3,625 depending on their participation.
V2M Public Safety Power Shutoff Microgrid Pilot ($1.5 million). The microgrid pilot will explore how EVs—both light-duty and medium- to heavy-duty—plugged into community microgrids can support community resiliency during Public Safety Power Shutoff events. Customers will be able to discharge their EVs to the community microgrid to support temporary power or charge from the microgrid if there is excess power.
Following initial lab testing, this pilot will be open to up to 200 customers with EVs who are located in High Fire-Threat District (HFTD) locations that contain compatible microgrids used during Public Safety Power Shutoff events. Customers will receive at least $2,500 for enrolling, and up to an additional $3,750 depending on their participation.
PG&E has submitted a fourth proposed pilot focused on creating ways for EVs to participate in CAISO markets; this was rejected by the CPUC in its current form.