NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG) is partnering with the University of Delaware to take electric vehicles (EVs) to the next level with eV2gSM, a company commercializing new technology that will enable EV owners to sell electric storage services from the batteries of parked EVs to help stabilize the electricity grid. Pioneered by UD professor Willett Kempton, this patented leading-edge vehicle-to-grid technology has garnered worldwide attention and holds promise to transform the future of the electricity supply.
“As more electric vehicles hit the road and charging stations—such as those provided by NRG’s eVgoSM network in Texas—continue to proliferate, EV-to-grid technology is the next logical step in the electrification of our transportation network,” said Denise Wilson, President of NRG’s Alternative Energy Services. “Working in partnership with the University of Delaware, eV2g technology will for the first time offer a true two-way interface between EVs and the electric grid, resulting in cost savings to EV fleet operators and eventually other EV owners and consumers, and cleaner and more reliable electricity for everybody. It’s one more way EV owners can commit to a sustainable energy future and get paid for it at the same time.”
eV2g’s technology would allow EV owners to sell battery storage back to the electric grid while the EV is plugged in—at no risk or inconvenience to daily driving needs. The program will initially help EV fleet managers to get connected with eV2g, then individual EV owners in the future. Once enrolled and plugged in, eV2g allows EVs to communicate with the grid and lets grid operators take power from connected EVs during peak usage periods. EV owners can schedule in advance any times their vehicles need more charging than usual, as for a unusually long trip, and what minimum level of charge they want to maintain at all times. eV2g collects payment from the grid operator and pays EV owners for making their vehicles available.
”Energy research, including grid-integrated vehicles, is an important priority for the University of Delaware,” said David Weir, Director of UD’s Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships, which oversees the University’s knowledge-based assets from licensing to commercialization. “The energy storage inherent in automobiles is staggering. If all the automobiles in the U.S. were electrified it would be enough to power the entire U.S. for half a day. The strategic partnership between NRG and UD provides the opportunity to tap this enormous potential thereby enhancing energy security, facilitating integration of renewables and lowering the cost of electricity.”
2 Electric grid operators rely on resources that can help provide or absorb short bursts of energy to keep the grid running smoothly, and parked and plugged-in EVs are ideal for helping to fill that role. Balancing the grid this way generates no additional emissions and can lead to a decrease in electricity costs over the long term by delaying or supplanting the need to build new generation facilities.
EVs—powered by electricity generated from cleaner domestic fuels—have the potential over time to reduce air emissions dramatically and begin to put the brakes on the ongoing transfer of American wealth to oil-producing nations. America spends approximately a billion dollars a day for imported oil and transportation accounts for more than a quarter of America’s greenhouse gas emissions.