Portus, Ergon Energy to Test Electric Vehicle Integration with Grid

  • Posted on: 3 February 2011
  • By: chw staff

Leading smart grid innovator Portus has announced that it has commenced a project with Queensland’s Ergon Energy to trial electric vehicle integration with the electricity grid.

The project, to be tested in Townsville, will build on a trial of Portus’ energy management system that is already underway with Ergon Energy. Portus’ Home Eco energy management system and energy dashboard allows the customer to monitor their energy behavior across key appliances in the home, so they can better understand where electricity is being consumed, which appliances are adding the most to their bill, and how much CO2 is being produced in operating each appliance.

Portus Home Eco also allows consumers control over individual appliances in their home, no matter where the customer is. This is made possible by a visually appealing and highly intuitive user interface that can run from any browser, including current smart phones.

Electric vehicles have started to appear on the market and it is anticipated there will be quite an influx in coming years, as manufacturers invest in low emission technologies. This represents major challenges, as well as some significant opportunities, for the electricity distributors that must support the added load.

If electric vehicles reach significant penetration, then utilities need to be able to manage the impact of their charging. For instance, if a large number of electric vehicles started charging at the same time, the peak in load could interfere with the reliable operation of the grid.

Portus will work with Ergon Energy on a trial integrating electric vehicle support into its energy management system and energy dashboard, so that customers have direct access to things like the current state of charge of their electric vehicle and the kilometre range possible on the charge. They will also be able to control the charging of the vehicle, and whether the vehicles battery can be used to supply additional capacity to the grid when the vehicle is idle. The solution will also allow utilities to manage electric vehicles as a resource for smoothing out fluctuations as more intermittent resources such as wind and solar come on stream, as well as providing extra capacity in times of peak demand.

Tim Lindquist, Portus CEO, said “our technology really gives customers far greater understanding and control over their energy usage and costs, and the impact on the environment from different appliances. It allows them to manage their energy bills in a way that was never possible before. It is much easier to take action when you see the impact of different electrical loads in real time, rather than having to wait for your quarterly bill. The integration of electric vehicle support into our system extends this theme, by providing customers convenient access to the current driving range and charge for their electric vehicle, the energy it is consuming, how much it is costing, and control over its charging. It is really about giving the customer optimal information in an easily digestible fashion so they can better manage their vehicle and their energy bills.”

Ergon Energy Group Manager, Emerging Opportunities and Technology Development, Glenn Walden said, "Electric vehicles distributed energy would be one of the key responses to the challenges the company faces with peak demand and in delivering services to customers in the future.”

“Energy management systems and energy storage in particular will feature prominently in future supply solutions,” Mr Walden said. “It will also enable integration of greater levels of clean energy into the grid as renewable energy sources become more available.”

About Ergon Energy Corporation Limited
Ergon Energy, as a Queensland Government Owned Corporation, operates as an electricity distributor, retailer and generator and services around 680,000 customers across its vast operating area of over one million square kilometres – 97% of the state of Queensland – from the expanding coastal and rural population centres to the remote communities of outback Queensland and the Torres Strait.

About Portus
Portus is a pioneer of the Connected Home and a leading innovator of energy management and residential Smart Grid solutions. It helps customers understand and manage their energy consumption and monitor and control their homes. It also helps utilities meet the challenge of capacity and carbon constrained networks through the provision of Energy Dashboard, Home Area Network and Demand Response solutions that better serve customers and increase network efficiency and profitability.