Vehicle-to-Grid? Well, Maybe Not So Bad After All…

Ok, so back in February i roundly bashed the idea of vehicle-to-grid as a lousy idea. So now that it’s spring, the crows have come home to roost, and now it’s time for me to cook & eat one!

Some pretty smart people are considering this idea, & i have to admit it has some merits if it’s done within the bounds as it’s being discussed. First, the vehicle owner signs an agreement, effectively “leasing” a portion of his battery capacity to the utility. It’s not the whole capacity (and its possibility of randomly dead batteries), and the owner has control over how much of his battery capacity to lease. The utility then pays the vehicle owner for this lease (it may be a monthly value).

The utility then can use this battery when it’s plugged in to help the utility cover short-term peak demand. The utilities do this today, but they do it with something they call “spinning reserves,” which is exactly that: generators that are ready at a moment’s notice to cover a sudden surge in power demand and avoid brownouts. These spinning reserves are, as you could imagine, pretty expensive to run. An array of plugged-in vehicles could help reduce the utility’s need for spinning reserves, and the leases that they pay for use of the vehicles’ batteries is well worth it! Plus, most of these surges only last for a few minutes or so, so within a short time the vehicle is back to full charge & ready to go.

The vehicle owner gets money, the utility saves money, and most of the time the vehicle never leaves the charging station at less than a full charge.

Of course, it’s not super-easy to just do this; the vehicle has to be able to source power out its charging cable, the charger has to be able to accept power instead of just deliver it, the charger has to be smart enough to know when to stop drawing power, the homeowner or charging facility may have to have upgrades like bigger breaker boxes & stuff. But this is not impossible either.

Bottom line, i was wrong. Anybody know of a good wine that pairs well with crow?

 

Leave a Reply