Proving the grid balancing potential of its smart-grid electric vehicle chargers, eMotorWerks, a subsidiary of the Enel Group’s new advanced energy services division Enel X, successfully deployed a 30-MW, highly distributed virtual energy storage battery within California since the start of 2017.
With an energy capacity of 70 MWh and eMotorWerks’ JuiceNet cloud software platform as the Battery Management System (BMS), the eMotorWerks virtual battery is active in California Independent System Operator (CAISO) wholesale day-ahead and real-time markets, dynamically managing charging loads to balance grid demand, reduce wholesale energy costs and mitigate the intermittency of renewables.
“Having proved at scale capabilities that no other EV charging technology has accomplished, eMotorWerks is aggregating and bidding EV loads at the wholesale level,” said Val Miftakhov, CEO of eMotorWerks. “Our intelligent platform already delivers on grid integration, wholesale energy cost reduction and renewables integration with cost-effective load aggregation.”
Miftakhov added: “It’s time for utilities around the country and the world to take advantage of these capabilities and help grow this virtual battery to support our shared electrification and decarbonization goals.”
Over 6,000 eMotorWerks residential JuiceBox and other JuiceNet-enabled chargers installed in California make up the 30-MW virtual battery. Locations are spread across the state and concentrated in the major population centers. By controlling them through the company’s cloud-connected JuiceNet software, and enrolling EV drivers to participate in rewards programs, eMotorWerks is delivering valuable grid services such as demand response capacity (up and down) on a daily basis across the state, with the capital outlay borne by EV drivers instead of utilities or energy storage developers.
“Through eMotorWerks’ virtual battery aggregations, EV drivers themselves can participate in the overall health of our grid and help reduce energy costs, utilizes cleaner power and maximizes existing infrastructure,” said David Schlosberg, eMotorWerks VP of Energy Market Operations. “EVs are reaching the inflection point for mass adoption, and eMotorWerks is the preferred partner for electricity providers, vehicle manufacturers such as the recently-announced Honda collaboration, and regulators to develop programs to deploy virtual batteries in their territories. Collectively, we have the opportunity to future-proof our electricity systems now by ensuring EV grid integration “off the lot” to prepare for a reliable electricity system dominated by EVs, renewable energy and storage.”
The combination of JuiceBox charging stations and the cloud JuiceNet software allows utilities to analyze and model how chargers can participate in retail and wholesale markets, as well as maximize the use of wind and solar energy in their service territories.
“The technology advancements we are delivering in smart-grid charging is analogous to the technology advancements project developers leveraged when pioneering third-party finance in the solar industry 10 years ago,” said Preston Roper, Chief Marketing & Operating Officer of eMotorWerks and former solar industry executive. “Similar to industry work expanding the solar industry into the mainstream a decade ago, eMotorWerks has demonstrated our capability to deliver energy services from grid integrated distributed electric vehicle chargers, including those from our JuiceNet EVSE partners. Now, it’s up to more utilities and automakers to embrace smart-grid charging to benefit EV driving customers and their grids as a whole.”
Energy providers who integrate smart-grid EV charging into their grid balancing toolkit, gain more than cloud-connected chargers. The software features of JuiceNet allow grid operators to source more low-cost renewable electricity, minimize energy procurement costs, and provide second-by-second adjustments to ensure 60 Hz frequency regulation.