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California Energy Markets / Bottom Lines

[November 2, 2018 / No. 1512]

CEC Developing Vehicle-Grid Infrastructure Matrix

The California Energy Commission is working with other state agencies and entities to update the state's Vehicle-Grid Integration Roadmap, which has a goal of developing routes to enable electric and zero-emission vehicles to provide grid services while still meeting consumer needs for the burgeoning transportation technology.

The VGI road-map update process flows from recommendations in the CEC's 2017 Integrated Energy Policy Report and is an element of the larger statewide target set by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2012 to have 1.5 million ZEVs on California roads by 2025. The effort to update the VGI road map bridges several entities, including the CEC, various industries, the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Independent System Operator, and brings a host of issues regarding time of use, charging, and bringing in new services that ZEVs can provide, such as load shifting.

The CEC said a workshop it held on Oct. 29-30 was intended to provide an opportunity to discuss technological, regulatory and other refinements to allow the grid to take full advantage of ZEVs and help the state meet its carbon goals.

CEC staff in September posted a spreadsheet document for public comment, known as the VGI Roadmap Matrix, that included a proposed list of issues and problems to tackle. One objective of the workshop was to identify problems documented in the matrix and to get public input on proposed actions and organizations that would be responsible, as well as priorities and sequences of actions.

"We heard a lot of great things in the workshop," CEC Associate Energy Specialist Eli Harland told California Energy Markets, saying some of the discussion focused on VGI as well as larger issues around integrating ZEVs into the grid. The workshop featured much technical analysis, but also more macro-scale observations on VGI.

The effort requires coordination of several industries that have not been integrated before, including the auto, electric-service and information-technology industries and financial actors, as well as newer elements on the grid such as rooftop solar and microgrids, said Jacqueline Piero, an energy policy analyst with Nuvve Corp., at the workshop. Nuvve is a San Diego-based company developing technology that enables electric batteries to generate, store and resell energy back to the local grid, including aggregation of resources, communication software and electric-vehicle supply equipment.

CEC Vehicle-Grid Roadmap

"These actors are not only not used to working together, they don't know how to work together. They don't even speak the same language," Piero said. She used the examples of automakers speaking in miles per gallon, the electric industry in kilowatt-hours, the technology industry in bytes, and banks in money.

"There needs to be a translator. There needs to be something to unite these different actors, and that is what this technology is about," Piero said. "It's not just the grid that we're integrating it into—it's a much larger project when you start to think about actually going bidirectional and actually figuring out how to monetize it." Reliable, predictable and dispatchable resources are what is required for the electric grid, she said.

The CEC's framework has a number of elements, including "technology innovation and commercialization," "vehicle and charging supply chain," "transportation policy and market assessment," "resource characterization," "electricity policy and procurement," "qualification and selection," "infrastructure investment sources," and "deployment and customer use," leading to "realized effects," according to CEC documents.

"It's not really about which technology we are going to use, but how to foster the adoption, how to make it faster," said Oleg Logvinov, North American spokesman for the Berlin-based Charging Interface Initiative, which is developing a global standard for charging battery-power electric vehicles.

The key to widespread ZEV adoption is availability of "always available, always on" infrastructure to support not just electric cars, but motorcycles, and heavier-duty vehicles such as trucks that have higher charging requirements, he said. Development of a "multi-stakeholder, standard-based ecosystem" will help widespread deployment, he said, similar to how standardized infrastructure and compatibility allowed conventional automobiles and personal computers to proliferate as items in everyday life, he said.

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"We need to develop infrastructure that is there, that nobody has a concern about," Logvinov said, adding that stakeholders should think about how to enable people to charge at home, at work and at destination points.

"We know the grid is evolving and we know that is the future," CAISO Senior Advisor for Smart Grid Technology Peter Klauer said. He said the ISO has been working hard to enable the participation of distributed energy resources, including its Energy Storage and Distributed Energy Resources program, which is working to enable submetering of behind-the-meter electric-vehicle supply equipment, among other new initiatives (see CEM No. 1511 [17.2]).

Summing up the outlook of the workshop, CEC Air Pollution Specialist Noel Crisostomo stressed that the effort will require new vision and approaches.

"We cannot repeat the same questions, so let's set a road and drive down it," he said. –Jason Fordney

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