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Electric car batteries could boost storage by injecting electricity into the grid during times of scarcity or store during periods of excess and meet short-term storage demand as early as 2030, a new study by Leiden University said.
The report studied the potential of achieving the goal by either setting up “vehicle-to-grid” or “second use” batteries.
The vehicle-to-grid approach would allow drivers to connect car batteries to the grid for short-term storage when needed. For instance, commercial fleets can inject power into the grid when at a depot.
The second use program would allow the drivers to sell or donate car batteries once they can no longer be used to power vehicles, which is usually when the battery’s capacity falls below 70-80%
The study quantified the global electric vehicle (EV) battery capacity available for grid storage using an integrated model which incorporates future EV battery deployment, battery degradation rate, and market participation.
Harnessing the potential of EV batteries will have critical implications for the energy transition and policymakers should be cognizant of the opportunities, the report said.
Increased participation can boost storage capacity
The report said even a low level of participation between 12% and 43% from drivers could make a big difference and is enough to provide short-term grid storage demand globally.
Participation and utilization rates of 50% for vehicle-to-grid and second use can result in a real-world capacity of 25–48 TWh by 2050, far higher than the short-term storage requirements estimated.
Changes in vehicle-to-grid participation rates of 23–96% by 2050 could influence this real-world capacity by as much as (-)24% to +21%. When second-use utilization rates vary from 10%-100%, the real-world capacity varies between (-)41% and 12%.
Taken together, vehicle-to-grid participation rate and second-use utilization rate could alter the real-world capacity in 2050 by (-)61% to +32%.
Need for incentives and regulations
The real-world available capacity depends strongly on the vehicle-to-grid participation rate and the second-use utilization rates. The team urges that governments should introduce both incentives and regulations to ensure that the programs can take off.
This can include market-based efforts such as micro-payments for services to the grid, or regulations to require the connection of commercial fleets to the network while at depots.
Further regulations are required to ensure the required hardware and software solutions for EV integration. This may include smart controllers for consumers to facilitate easy market participation and communication of benefits to EV users.
The report pointed out that strong re-use regulations will also be necessary to ensure that used batteries are recovered and easily integrated into the grid.
Lastly, policymakers and researchers should aim to understand EV users’ behavior to understand the key factors preventing them from participation.
Last month, EV sales in India reached a record one million units in 2022, a jump of over 300% against the 322,877 units sold in 2021.
Read Mercom’s latest EV Outlook for insights into what the industry expects in 2023.