Virtual Power Plants & EV's


Including electric vehicle infrastructure in Virtual Power Plants is a new concept.


In the charging phase the EV can be critical to the existing grid: this phase, usually called Grid to Vehicle (G2V) interaction, can be stressing for the electricity infrastructure if carried out in an uncontrolled way increasing the peak load on the distribution grid. The Vehicle to Grid (V2G) concept is described as transferring the energy content of the battery to the distribution network: in this case the electric vehicle connected to the network can, in fact, be treated as a distributed storage system connected to the electricity distribution network.


The progressive replacement of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by EV will also require the existence of different types of interfaces, i.e. charging infrastructures, between the grid and the EV to enable them to charge at different power rates. Similarly to the charging modes, the type of connection between the charging infrastructure should also be taken into account in the planning tasks. Presently, several single-phase and three-phase solutions, as well as compatible plugs are developed in parallel.


Challenges: However, to ease the large scale adoption of EV, standards for hardware (connector/cable) and communications should be clearly defined and somehow unified, at least for large areas like Europe.


The IEC 61851 standard describes 4 charging modes: Mode 1 (max. 16A AC 230/400V), Mode 2 (max. 32A AC 230/400V), Mode 3 (max. 63A AC 230/400V) and Mode 4 (max. 400A DC 1000V). All modes, except Mode 1, require communication between vehicle and charge station. Modes 1, 2 and 3 use a battery charger inside the vehicle and Mode 4 uses an external charger. In Germany, Italy and U.K. the most widely used plug by far is the one known as "Type 2". 62196-2 Type 2 charger is adopted by the European Charger Manufacturers and in January 28, 2013 the “Type 2 plug developed by the German company Mennekes will be the common standard for charging electrified vehicles across the European Union”, the European Commission has announced.


In the UK the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) has funded the development of two important documents.


“Successfully Implementing Plug-in Electric Vehicle Infrastructure – A Technical Roadmap for Local Authorities and their Strategic Partners” has been developed to provide a background of definitive technical guidance as well as outlining some of the key project development considerations. It is designed to provide an “all you need to know” type summary of information for those setting out to develop EV infrastructure.


“The Code of Practice for Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment Installation” has been developed to provide electrical engineers and others with detailed information about how to safely install charge points.”


“In the UK the regulatory framework of the electricity sector means that there is no natural home

for EV charge points in the distribution network operators’ regulated asset base. Also there is no Electric vehicle charging infrastructure incentive for electricity suppliers to install charge points because there is no guarantee that they will be able to use them to sell their own electricity for more than 21 days.


Another issue is the UK’s position as one of the early adopters for electric vehicles. The relatively

short distances between and within urban conurbations, the availability of off street personal parking and the positive attitude communicated by various government agencies has placed the UK in the first wave of European markets being developed by Nissan, GM Vauxhall and Toyota, amongst others. For this reason the UK has had to accept its role as a test bed and with it the acceptance that mistakes will be made.”

(from ENEVATE European Network of Electric Vehicles and transferring expertise, Accelerating e-mobility project, Future Transport Systems, Cardiff University, NAREC)

Electric vehicle charging infrastructure tool kit (2), Part 1 – Outline


“In principle EV battery capacity can help fulfill shortfalls in energy supply due to intermittent renewable generation or predicted peak demand.




























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The study is based on three technical components.  Firstly the Virtual Power Plant (VPP) at an aggregate level combining energy generation from multiple sources, leading to "positive energy" buildings, i.e. having the ability to satisfy their own energy needs (thermal and/or electric) and contribute excess power to the community. Secondly electric vehicles (EVs) with a vehicle to grid capability and smart metering to allow the ebb and flow of energy between the grid, the virtual power plant and the EVs. The third element involves identifying business models for implementation and operation of the system.  The positive energy building concept becomes technically  and economically feasible if extending its boundary to groups of buildings, campuses or communities (aggregators). The feasibility study aims to indetify the issues that need to be addressed in these three areas and develop an approach to addressing the issues and the appropriate business model or models for developing a solution.