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Electric Vehicle-to-Grid technology sells first power to PJM power grid

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The University of Delaware and NRG Energy celebrated a milestone for their eV2g project April 26.

The Electric Vehicle-to-Grid project demonstrated for the first time the sale of electricity from electric vehicles, or EVs, to the power grid.

"This demonstrates that EVs can provide both mobility and stationary power while helping making the grid more resilient, and ultimately generating revenue for electric vehicle owners," said NRG Executive Vice President Denise Wilson, who leads the company's emerging businesses.

The university and NRG began work in September 2011 to commercialize the University of Delaware technology, which provides a two-way interface that enables vehicle owners to sell electricity back to the grid.

At the grid level, the technology has the potential to balance the power provided by intermittent renewable resources such as wind and solar. Energy storage, such as large-scale batteries or those in a fleet of vehicles, can take the wind's power generated at night and store it to use when demand is higher.

The eV2g project took a step forward in February when it became an official participant in the grid operator PJM Interconnection's frequency regulation market. Frequency regulations is used to balance supply and demand on the grid second by second. Since then, the project has been selling power services from a fleet of EVs to PJM, which manages territory in 13 mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia.

"PJM changed rules for participation in the regulation service market to decrease the minimum amount of power needed to participate and we implemented new rules that recognize and compensate faster, more accurately responding resources, such as batteries," said Michael J. Kormos, senior vice president of PJM Operations. "We knew that by doing so would attract innovation and would find potential for energy storage or other technologies. We're glad to be a part of this project and hope that this inspires continued innovation among our partners and others in the industry."

The technology is expected to initially help managers of commercial EV fleets by providing revenue while the vehicles are parked, with individual EV owners to eventually follow. The system is currently in development with restricted test fleets and is not now a commercial offering.

Additional company partnerships that make up the system include BMW AG, which provided the EVs; Milbank Manufacturing, which provided charging stations based on the University of Delaware technology; AutoPort Inc., which installed the University of Delaware control technology into the EVs, and others.

University of Delaware President Patrick Harker thanked the industry and policy leaders who have supported the project.

"It might be a few more years before a grid-integrated vehicle sits in every American driveway, but I'm excited to continue the journey," Harker said.