May 13, 2022: US utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) said on May 5 it will develop three new pilot programs in California to test how bidirectional electric vehicles (EVs) and chargers can provide power to the grid.
The pilots will be in addition to similar programs in collaboration with General Motors and Ford that were announced on March 11.
PG&E said the new pilot projects will test bidirectional charging technology in a variety of settings, including in homes, businesses and with local microgrids in high fire-threat areas.
Financial incentives will be offered to those taking part in each of the projects with “additional benefits for those in disadvantaged communities”, the utility said.
All three projects are to be rolled out in 2022 and 2023. This tests the ability of EVs to send power back to the grid and provide power during an outage.
PG&E said it expects its findings will help determine how to maximize the cost-effectiveness of bidirectional charging technology in providing a variety of customer and grid services.
According to the utility, the 400,000 EVs registered in its service area — along with the fast-growing number of EVs across the state — “represent a flexible grid resource, which could offer cost savings associated with operating and maintaining the grid as well as for customers who own an EV or are a part of a bidirectional EV-enabled community microgrid”.
Additionally, using EV batteries for residential and commercial power could reduce the need to build new standalone energy storage systems, PG&E said.
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