TORONTONov. 9, 2021 /CNW/ – Electric vehicle owners are becoming active contributors to the affordability and reliability of the electricity system, with the potential to power their homes, the grid at large and in return, get paid for doing it. The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) today announced an investment of $1.1 million – with an additional $1.6 million investment from project partners – to test the development of local energy ecosystems that integrate the batteries from electric vehicles (EV) with homes and electricity networks.  

“We are enthusiastic about the potential for EVs to evolve beyond just consuming energy to become active contributors to the grid in ways that increase reliability and cut costs,” said Lesley Gallinger, IESO’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Ontario is gearing up for a period of significant demand growth coupled with increasing pressure on supply. We see EV owners as potential partners in the system – being a part of the solution to meet Ontario’s long-term energy needs.”

Through its Grid Innovation Fund, the IESO invests in projects that integrate EVs within electricity systems, including:

  • Vehicle-to-home back-up power. EV batteries will provide back-up power to residential customers during outages. This project also evaluates the potential for EVs to inject extra power to support the grid, and in return, provide an additional revenue stream for the car owner. Partners: Peak Power Inc., Hydro One Networks Inc. IESO Support: $450,000, Partner Funding: $459,000.
  • Vehicle-to-grid charging. EVs, energy storage and solar panels will provide energy to the grid where and when it is needed, using blockchain technology to ensure that the exchange of information between customers and local distribution networks is secure. Partners: Sky Clean Energy, Hero Energy & Engineering, Volta Research Inc., York University. IESO Support: $175,000, Partner Funding: $626,000.
  • Local EV Charging Platform. This project will test a secure, digital platform that connects EV drivers, their chargers with local hydro companies and their networks, to enable demand management (to reduce consumption when demand is high) and backup power as needed. EV drivers will manage their charging demand and cost while supporting the reliability and power quality of the local electricity network. IESO Support: $500,000, Partner Funding: $506,000.

Minister of Energy, Todd Smith, applauded the partners for investing in innovative technologies that will provide EV owners with more options for their vehicles and help to meet Ontario’s energy needs over the long-term.

“Our government recognizes that building an electricity grid that’s ready for future growth will require a diverse combination of energy solutions that provide greater flexibility, transparency and reliability for Ontario consumers,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy. “The IESO’s Grid Innovation Fund, and the projects it’s supporting, are allowing the province to spur development and testing of new technologies that will provide additional flexibility for EV owners and Ontario’s grid.”

More than 51,000 electric and hybrid vehicles currently operate in Ontario, with the number projected to grow ten-fold by the end of the decade. While the IESO is anticipating increased demand as a result of the electric vehicle adoption, it has also identified opportunities to use EV batteries to store energy produced during periods of low demand and release it when demand is highest.

These projects will test two-way capabilities to manage this new form of supply, provide flexibility to the grid and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while, at the same time, help understand EV owner preferences and behaviours that will influence the take up of vehicle-to-grid technologies.

Project Lead Quotes:

“We’re thrilled to team up with Hydro One, IESO, and our other partners to give EV owners the tools they need to turn their vehicles into energy storage. By combining our software with bidirectional chargers, EVs become energy generating resources that not only serve as backup power for homes, but lead to less demand on the grid, creating a more stable electricity supply for all Ontarians.”

–      Matthew Sachs, COO, Peak Power

“EVs are an increasingly versatile technology that simultaneously reduce greenhouse gas emissions and act as a flexible energy resource to increase grid efficiency and resiliency. We view EVs as batteries on wheels, which empowers EV owners to provide mobile, locational-specific energy resiliency to those most critically in need. At Hero, we are humbled to be given the opportunity to demonstrate the feasibility of this concept, and to be an active contributor towards the next generation of EV-integrated, intelligent power systems that take decisive action against climate change.”  

–      Shivam Saxena, President, Hero Energy and Engineering

“There is huge value to linking electric vehicles, electric utilities, and EV drivers to optimize EV charging that benefits everyone. We can improve air quality, tackle climate change, and grow new business models. This project will showcase the value of collaboration between electric utilities and EV drivers for a sustainable electric mobility future. With this funding, Elocity will not only demonstrate Ontario made innovative technology but will be ready to scale it globally.”

–      Sanjeev Singh, Founder and CEO, Elocity Technologies Inc.

About the IESO

The IESO operates Ontario’s power grid 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, ensuring Ontarians receive a reliable and cost-effective source of power when and where they need it. It works with sector partners and engages with communities across Ontario to plan and prepare for the province’s electricity needs, now and into the future.

Established in 2006 to support technological innovation in these key areas, the IESO’s Grid Innovation Fund has a bottom-line focus on impact. To date, it has invested in 230 projects that support the reliability and cost-effectiveness of Ontario’s electricity system.