ARENA supports AGL’s electric vehicle charging trial

Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has, on behalf of the Australian Government, provided $2.9 million for AGL Energy Services (AGL) to undertake a large scale electric vehicle (EV) charging trial across New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.

As part of the $8.25 million trial, AGL will recruit 300 EV owners to demonstrate a range of smart and managed charging solutions.

AGL is contributing $5.3 million towards the trial which also involves project partners JET Charge, Chargefox and FlexCharging and a cohort of distribution networks. ARENA’s funding will support charging hardware costs, installation costs and software development.

The project will be the first time V2G EVs will be deployed in a residential context in Australia. It will also be the first time smart charging has been deployed in Australia via software, potentially removing the need for additional smart charging hardware in the future.

The mix of alternative charging types has been selected by AGL on the basis of current technology readiness, with smart chargers being the most mature technology and the main focus, while V2G and software based smart charging are less mature but offer considerable potential for the future.

AGL aims to accelerate the commercialization of the orchestration of EV charging by examining the key sources of uncertainty and investment risk such as the commercial model, technology approaches, customer behavior and market structure.

The trial also will help to inform electricity retailers, customers and DNSPs of the potential for EV charge management and how those benefits can be recognized and valued. The project will provide detailed insights into customer behavior to inform how best to maximize customer participation and value for the customer.

ARENA has previously supported the rollout of two fast charging EV networks across Australia by Chargefox and Evie Networks. This year, ARENA has also supported Origin and ActewAGL to trial different technologies and approaches to accelerate the commercialization of managed EV charging and V2G services respectively.

Together, these ARENA-funded EV projects explore various technology solutions, service providers, end users and geographies, helping to demonstrate and inform the market on how EV charging can be managed at higher levels of uptake, with the lowest cost and greatest benefit to consumers.

“As more Australians switch to EVs, it will be important to manage and orchestrate EV charging to avoid potentially costly impacts on peak demand, associated network charges and grid security issues. EVs also provide economic opportunities for consumers through the potential of reduced electricity costs through higher network utilization and the potential to generate revenues that would reduce the cost of car ownership.

“We hope trials like this will provide valuable insights into how EVs can provide value for money for consumers, but also help to transition our electricity network going forward.”

ARENA CEO Darren Miller.

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 administration of the Future Fuels Fund. The Future Fuels Fund will help businesses and regional communities take advantage of opportunities offered by hydrogen, electric, and bio-fueled vehicles.

“This trial will demonstrate how we create value using customers’ distributed energy assets like batteries and share the value with them.

“We’ll be talking to customers during the trial to understand how they feel about smart charging so we can improve their experience.

“Although the trial is limited to 300 customers, it will help us to shape future energy offers to EV owners.”

AGL general manager Decentralized Energy Resources Dominique Van Den Berg.