20 September, 2018: A pilot project to test the ability of electric vehicles organized into a virtual power plant to deliver secondary control reserve (aFRR — automatic frequency restoration reserve) in the Netherlands was announced on September 10 by virtual power plant operator Next Kraftwerke.
Transmission system operator TenneT selected fellow Netherland’s-based firms Next Kraftwerke and electric vehicle aggregator and smart charging platform provider Jedlix for the pilot project.
TenneT aims to assess the ability of distributed energy resources, such as EVs, to deliver aFRR services as the country transitions from centralized and fossil fuel power generation. The project is set to begin next year and run for two years.
The aFRR service in the Netherlands is considered one of the most important services in balancing a TSO’s grid, Next Kraftwerke’s business and product developer Carlos Dierckxsens told ESJ.
The aFRR service supplier has to follow the system operator’s power setpoint, updated every four seconds, with their portfolio of generation and demand or storage assets. Those assets must deliver their maximum offered power contribution within 15 minutes.
The pilot will begin with several MWs or several hundred EVs. The aFRR bids will be submitted in 1MW resolutions, with no upper limit to the pool size. New EV owners can sign up throughout the pilot project.
Jedlix’s platform can receive charging preferences via a live connection with the EV. This data will inform whether the EV provides either positive (more production, or, less demand) or negative (less production, or, more demand) control reserves to restore the grid frequency.
Dierckxsens said: “We will not stress the battery beyond the normal. In fact, the battery is still just charged from its initial charge to full charge within the period requested by the car owner.
“The only difference is that we start/stop the charging process in additional accordance with the TSO’s needs. We continuously monitor the state of the EV batteries to know how much we can offer to the TSO.
“There is also no minimum or maximum battery capacity that we tap into. In fact, every car owner is remunerated in line with the energy that is to be flexibly charged. The more energy the EV needs to charge and the more charging can be shifted in time, the more benefits for the EV owner.”
Due to the high technical requirements, the aFRR service has typically sourced power from large fossil power plants that were available in the past.
“With the advent of renewables, fossil power plants are not always available or at least their availability now comes at a cost,” said Dierckxsens.
“At the same time, flexible and decentralized assets can together deliver a perfect aFRR service with even higher reliability than fossil plants, as already proven in Germany.
“In the Netherlands, the scaling of aFRR from several 10s of (centralized and fossil) units to thousands or millions of highly distributed units requires some technical adaptations on the TSO’s side.
“In this pilot we aim to both address these adaptations and test them in practice, as well as making decentralized asset owners comfortable with the product.”
Next Kraftwerke and Jedlix will pool the EVs with other assets such as greenhouse lighting, wind, and solar plants, and biogas — as well as greenhouse CHPs.