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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has issued $2.4 million in funding to ActewAGL for the implementation of an electric vehicle to grid (V2G) pilot in Canberra.

ActewAGL will partner with the Australian National University, JET Charge, Evoenergy, SG Fleet, ACT Government and Nissan.

The Realising Electric Vehicle-to-Grid Services (REVS) pilot is said to be one of the largest V2G trials in the world and will comprise 51 Nissan Leaf EVs.

The EVs will be part of the ACT Government fleet and when plugged in will provide Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS) to the National Electricity Market (NEM).

The pilot is part of efforts by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to ensure grid reliability using smart and carbon-free energy.

AEMO has traditionally ensured the reliability of the grid using only coal, gas and hydro-electric power stations and more recently batteries.

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The project is the first V2G initiative in the FCAS and will also be the first time an EV fleet will be paid for providing electricity services, testing new revenue streams that could improve the total cost of ownership of EVs within the region.

Fleets make up more than half of all new vehicles sold annually in Australia and the results of this trial will help inform future procurement choices of private and public sector fleet managers.

The vehicles will be used normally during business hours but will be plugged in when not on the road, which allows for approximately 70% cent availability for providing grid services.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said: “ARENA is focused on commercialising technologies that can aid the integration of EVs into the electricity system. Given its potential capability to provide similar services as household batteries, V2G has the opportunity to transform a vehicle into a revenue generating device for consumers, through access to energy and network service markets and also to provide power solutions for the grid.

“As EV uptake grows, this project will help to unlock a future where EVs are just as critical a piece of the electricity sector as the transport sector.

The REVS project will also include a major study of the economic, electrical and behavioural learnings of V2G arising from the trial. Using these outcomes, international learnings and new analysis, the ANU will produce a V2G roadmap for Australia highlighting the potential of V2G and possible steps to get there.”

ActewAGL’s Group Manager of Product and Strategic Energy Deployments, Todd Eagles, said: “What’s unique about the REVS project is that we have valuable contributions from across the electricity and transport supply chains. It’s a powerful collective of stakeholders invested in supporting the uptake of renewables through vehicle-to-grid capabilities, which have an important role to play in ensuring the resilience and reliability of our energy system.

“Owners of electric vehicles can also benefit from financial incentives as a result of their electric vehicles being able to facilitate the two-way flow of energy, thereby reducing their overall vehicle costs. By focussing on fleets in the first instance, which make up around half of all new cars purchased in Australia, we’ll demonstrate the ability to scale these capabilities for shared value across the energy system and for vehicle owners.”