Power to the EV: eMotorWerks participates in wholesale electricity markets

October 04, 2018 | Case Study

Electric vehicle charging network operator eMotorWerks recently announced that it has successfully aggregated over 6,000 of its California-based EV chargers. As part of its parent company Enel, it has bid them as a 30 MW virtual power plant to participate in California Independent System Operator (CAISO)'s wholesale day-ahead and real-time markets. In previous years, eMotorWerks participated in California's Demand Response Auction Mechanism (DRAM) pilot program; this news is significant because it marks one of the first examples of an EV charging network stepping past demand response pilots into actually participating in electricity markets. Utilities and startups around the world have tested various programs to allow electric vehicles to be used as a resource for grid management, usually through a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) format that taps the EV battery as a bidirectional power supply – one example of this is Mitsubishi's project with Hitachi and Engie. These pilots have been slow to move past the piloting stage; in many cases, bidirectional power flow violates the warranty of the electric vehicle, and utilities are slow to vet and approve projects that could result in reverse power flows and thus damage to transformers and grid infrastructure.

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