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Tech Being Trialled to Push Energy from Electric Vehicles Back to Power Grid

Image credits: www.spgroup.com.sg

SP Group, a government-owned electricity and gas distribution company in Singapore has started a trial to test and verify the possibility of transferring energy from the batteries of electric vehicles (EV) back to the power grid as per news reports.

Vehicle-to-grid technology can be a good thing for both the electricity system and electric vehicle owners if proven viable, said the SP Group, adding that it would help overcome intermittency from solar power while allowing vehicle owners to be paid for the use of their batteries when needed. This would go towards enhancing grid reliability and catering to demand energy to support more than 600,000 vehicles when Singapore phases out internal combustion engine vehicles by 2040, said the company.

Singapore announced its vision in Budget 2020 to phase out internal combustion engine vehicles and have all vehicles run on cleaner energy by 2040. Vehicle-to-grid technology allows energy transfer between electric vehicle batteries and the power grid, which is “more sophisticated” than unidirectional charging, said the SP Group. When charged, lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles can act as small energy storage systems. These can help to balance the power grid by supplementing any fall in solar power supply due to rain or cloud cover or storing excess energy during periods of significant solar generation.

Notably, power plants have traditionally performed the role of mitigating such intermittency, but customers will be able to contribute when vehicle-to-grid technology is integrated, the company said.

SP Group is providing four vehicle-to-grid charging points at its premises for the trial, which will end in June next year. The trial will seek to demonstrate vehicle-to-grid capability and applications, including frequency regulation, reduction of demand from traditional energy sources, mitigation of too-high or too-low voltage in the distribution system, and electric vehicle charging during peak and off-peak periods.

The trial of vehicle-to-grid integration is another step towards supporting Singapore’s green energy transformation. As the national grid operator, SP Group noted that they are aiming to build a resilient and smart grid for the future, ensuring that the country’s energy system caters to the increased load due to the conversion to EVs.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, as part of the initiative to move on from the negative effects brought upon by the pandemic, the government further encouraged the early adoption of shifting from traditional petrol-fuelled vehicles to electric vehicles or EVs. The Government will allocate S$30 million for projects and initiatives supporting the shift. They will also introduce more incentives to narrow the “cost differential” between electric cars and internal combustion engine cars, announced Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in his Budget speech.

The initial move will come in the form of lowering the Additional Registration Fee (ARF) floor to zero for electric cars from Jan 2022 to Dec 2023. The ARF is a tax paid when registering a vehicle and is calculated based on a percentage of a vehicle’s Open Market Value – the cost of a vehicle imported into Singapore.

The move will allow mass-market electric car buyers to maximise the rebates from the EV Early Adoption Incentive (EEAI). The EV Early Adoption Incentive (EEAI) allows those who buy fully electric cars and taxis to receive a rebate of up to 45 % on the ARF. Such a rebate is capped at S$20,000. This initiative will run up to Jan 31, 2023. Besides, there will also be a revision of the road tax bands. This will further aid mass-market electric cars to have road tax comparable to an internal combustion engine equivalent.

The government described electric vehicles as the most promising clean energy vehicle technology today, prompting Singapore to set aside S$30 million over the next five years for electric vehicle-related initiatives. This includes measures to improve charging provision at private premises. They also believe that this move will catalyse the partnership between the public and private sectors. This will also accelerate the development of its charging infrastructure to better support the growth of electric vehicles in the next decade.

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