Friday, 05 February 2021 11:34

ARENA allocates $1.6 million to Jemena for electric vehicle charging trial Featured

ARENA CEO Darren Miller ARENA CEO Darren Miller

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has allocated $1.6 million in funding to energy infrastructure company Jemena to undertake a residential electric vehicle (EV) managed charging trial with four other electricity networks in the ACT, Victoria and Tasmania.

Under the funding deal, Jemena will work with Distribution Network Service Providers (DNSP) AusNet, Evoenergy, TasNetworks and United Energy on a 176 EV residential trial to demonstrate the use of hardware based smart charging directed by signals from networks as opposed to electricity retailers.

ARENA says the $3.4 million project will be the first time networks have played a direct role in EV charge management and will assist in their preparedness for the potential impacts of EVs on the electricity system.

“The networks will install network monitoring equipment to better understand the network conditions and impact of the EVs in real time. Based on this information, signals will also be sent by each network to an aggregation platform that will communicate with smart charging hardware to control EV charging,” notes ARENA. 

“The trial will allow DNSPs to assess the potential costs and benefits of managed charging. This will enable the networks to minimise and justify future expenditure more accurately, while improving network infrastructure utilisation and enabling a lower cost integration of EVs for all consumers.

ARENA’s funding will assist in purchasing smart charging hardware, network monitoring equipment, as well as program management costs for the trial. Hardware and software will be supplied and installed by JET Charge.”

ARENA says it has also supported Origin, AGL and ActewAGL to trial different technologies and approaches to managed EV charging, smart charging and vehicle-to-grid services, with these trials exploring both charging at optimum times of day for lowest cost and to reduce peak demand, as well as exporting power back to the grid.

“ARENA has previously supported the rollout of two ultra-fast charging EV networks across Australia by Chargefox and Evie Networks which have focused mainly on enabling travel on major highways between capital cities. 

“Together, these ARENA funded EV projects not only help to address consumer range anxiety for EVs but are also demonstrating and informing the market on how EV charging can be managed at higher levels of uptake, with the lowest cost and greatest benefit to consumers.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said that while ARENA’s other EV projects involve networks in more of a consultative role, this project with Jemena will put networks’ in the driver’s seat managing EV charging for the first time.

“As the penetration of EVs increases, it will be important to manage and orchestrate the charging of vehicles to avoid negative impacts on networks and costs and ensure the optimal outcome for all parties,” Mikller said.

“Networks will be key to this as they hold the ultimate responsibility for integrating EVs into their grids while maintaining security of supply and minimising costs.”

“With more and more Australians buying electric vehicles, Jemena is playing its part to support this adoption while ensuring the electricity grid can manage the extra consumption, particularly in neighbourhoods that already have a high uptake of electric vehicles,” said Executive General Manager of Jemena Networks Shaun Reardon. 

As outlined in the Australian Government’s first Low Emissions Technology Statement, ARENA will also continue to support consumers choosing new vehicle technologies through the roll-out of the Future Fuels Fund, designed to help businesses and regional communities take advantage of opportunities offered by hydrogen, electric, and bio-fuelled vehicles.

Commentring on the electric vehicle trials, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the Morrison Government is backing the new trial “aimed at better understanding and minimising the impact of electric vehicle (EV) charging on the supply of reliable and secure energy”.

“Continuing our support for consumer choice in future fuels, the Government is partnering with energy operator Jemena and four network service providers to gain a better understanding of how EV charging impacts the electricity system.

“The trial is being conducted in 176 homes across Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. Participating network service providers will monitor users' charging habits to understand the network conditions and impact of EVs on the grid in real time.”

Minister Taylor said the trial is the first-time networks will play a direct role in EV charge management and will provide key insights into managing the impact of EVs on Australia's electricity grid - and will provide key insights into managing the impact of EVs on Australia's electricity grid.

"An unmanaged uptake of EVs could have negative impacts on the electricity grid if a large number of vehicles are charged at home during peak periods," Minister Taylor said.

"This trial will give us a greater understanding of how to integrate future fuel technologies in Australia without compromising our energy grid."

Minister Taylor said Jemena will employ a number of new staff to undertake the trial in conjunction with network service providers AusNet Services, Evoenergy, TasNetworks and United Energy.

“This funding builds on the Government's support for consumer choice and efforts to reduce barriers to future fuel technology uptake.

“Through ARENA, the Government has provided $21 million for two electric vehicle charging networks and $11.7 million for projects focusing on smart charging and tools to make it easier for motorists and businesses to purchase new technology vehicles.

“The Government has also provided up to $1.1 billion in concessional finance is available through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to assist uptake of low and zero emissions vehicles.

“In the 2020-21 Budget, the Government announced the $71.9 million Future Fuels Fund, to be administered by ARENA, that will focus on supporting fleets and better infrastructure.

"Australians should be able to choose which type of car they drive and the Government is continuing to support them in this decision," Minister Taylor said.

 ”The Future Fuels Strategy Discussion Paper outlines the Government's vision to create an environment that enables consumer choice, stimulates industry development and reduces emissions in the road transport sector.”

"We are backing this with substantial funding, including the $74.5 million Future Fuels Package and the $24.5 million Freight Energy Productivity Program," Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said.

"This forms part of the King Review Technology Co-Investment Fund and the ARENA-administered grants program will help heavy road freight businesses evaluate fuel efficiency technologies for both diesel vehicle or new technology fleets.

"Managing the increased uptake of new road transport technologies involves all levels of government, the community and industry.

"The Coalition's policy is focused on enabling consumer choice and supporting natural uptake when it comes to new vehicle and fuel technologies. Modelling shows Labor's policy is a car tax that will increase the price of cars by up to $4863 to force people out of the cars they love and into EVs.

"The Government is inviting input through this discussion paper to help shape the final Future Fuels Strategy. Feedback will also help to influence the design and roll out of Government investment programs, including the Future Fuels Fund, and inform the Commonwealth's priorities for ongoing work with states and territories."

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