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AGL and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) are launching an $8 million trial to help test the impact of electric vehicle (EV) charging on the electricity grid.

The trial, which is run under AGL’s newly established home of innovation, AGL Next, will help to determine when to avoid congestion on the grid during times of peak demand by switching EV charging to other times.

A total of 300 customers who sign up to AGL’s Electric Vehicle Plan will participate in the three-year trial with 250 of them receiving vehicle chargers.

AGL General Manager Decentralised Energy Resources Dominique Van Den Berg said AGL was excited to partner with ARENA to understand when and how customers charged their EVs, which will become a larger part of the energy market as their take-up increased.

“AGL’s Virtual Power Plant, which consists of household batteries providing energy when the grid needs it, such as on hot summer days, is being expanded with this trial to include EVs, which are essentially batteries on wheels,” Ms Van Den Berg said.

“We’ll be talking to customers during the trial to understand how they feel about smart charging so we can improve their experience.”

Customers who participate in the trial will receive regular bills credits, offsets for their household emissions through AGL’s new Carbon Neutral product, and access to an app which would allow them to set their charging preferences and be notified of charging ‘events’.

AGL is contributing $5.3 million and ARENA $2.9 million to the trial, which involves distribution networks United Energy, Jemena, Ausnet Services, Ausgrid, Energy Queensland, Endeavour Energy, and SA Power Networks, and project partners JET Charge, Chargefox and FlexCharging.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said trials like this would allow EVs to benefit the wider electricity system and would support the integration of EVs into the system as uptake increased.

“As the penetration of EVs increases it will be important to manage and orchestrate the charging of vehicles, to avoid potentially costly impacts on peak demand, associated network charges and grid security issues,” he said.

AGL’s Electric Vehicle Channel Manager Craig Norris will be speaking at AfMA’s next webinar on Tuesday 24th November. Have you registered?