PG&E Energizes Silicon Valley With Vehicle-to-Grid Technology
During today's Silicon Valley Leadership Group Alternative Energy Solutions Summit, Pacific Gas and Electric Company showcased the first-ever utility Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology demonstration. The demonstration marks a milestone in the development of innovative technologies to make electric vehicles suppliers of electricity to homes and businesses.
is committed to meeting the challenges associated with climate
change by developing and bringing innovative alternative-fuel technologies
to our customers," said Bob Howard, PG&E vice president of gas transmission
and distribution. "V2G represents the best of these technologies because it
intersects the transportation and utility sectors -- the nation's two
largest contributors of greenhouse gases -- to increase energy reliability
and protect the environment."
V2G technology allows for the bi-directional sharing of electricity
between Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Plug-in Electric Hybrid Vehicles
(PHEVs) and the electric power grid. The technology turns each vehicle into
a power storage system, increasing power reliability and the amount of
renewable energy available to the grid during peak power usage.
PG&E's prototype PHEV, converted in partnership with the Bay Area Air
Quality Management District and Energy CS, adds a lithium ion battery to a
traditional Toyota Prius. The additional battery capacity increases the
vehicle's ability to run completely on electricity. In front of many of the
Silicon Valley's industry and governmental leaders, PG&E showed the reverse
flow of energy from the vehicle back to the outlet -- a first public
showcase for any utility. Once connected to the outlet, PG&E then ran
several lights and appliances to show how V2G could benefit its customers.
Although PG&E's PHEV is currently in prototype form, the company sees
the possibility that its customers will be able to take advantage of V2G
technology and PHEVs by providing power to their home or businesses during
hot summer days to avoid high energy prices and help prevent outages.
In addition to reducing energy costs, V2G technology could provide the
ability for customers to sell back energy to the utility during hot
afternoons when demand is highest and most costly to avoid blackouts.
During these periods, energy is worth several times more than overnight
when vehicles charge. Vehicle owners will select a price threshold at which
they are willing to sell energy, and when the price reaches this point the
utility will be able to automatically draw energy out of the vehicle,
leaving enough for the drive home if necessary. The utility's customers
would then earn credit in the amount of energy used by the utility toward
their monthly energy bill.
V2G technology also serves as a way to increase the amount of renewable
energy used during peak energy hours. During times of maximum demand,
electrical utilities have to buy power from expensive and less efficient
fossil fuel power generating sources. PHEVs will charge their batteries at
night when energy is inexpensive and is generated with a larger percentage
of renewable resources. When demand is high the next day, instead of
turning on a fossil-fuel based generator, the utility can purchase the
renewable energy stored in the vehicle batteries.
"PG&E's V2G demonstration marks an important milestone for plug-in
vehicle technology," said Felix Kramer, Founder of CalCars.org. "Using a
grid-connected car's battery as distributed energy storage for homes or
businesses expands the economic and environmental benefits of plug-in
PG&E's PHEV and V2G program is part of its broader strategy to develop
innovative energy solutions that deliver the cleanest and most reliable
power to its customers. In addition to its PHEV, PG&E owns and operates a
clean fuel fleet of fuel cell vehicles and more than 1,200 natural gas
vehicles -- the largest of its kind in the United States. PG&E's clean fuel
fleet consists of service and crew trucks, meter reader vehicles and pool
cars that run either entirely on compressed natural gas or have bi-fuel
capabilities. Over the last 15 years, PG&E's clean fuel fleet has displaced
over 2.7 million gallons of gasoline and diesel, and helped to avoid 5,000
tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
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