Electric cars to be plugged into power grid in hope of protecting Australia against blackouts

| 09.07,20. 05:56 AM |

Electric cars to be plugged into power grid in hope of protecting Australia against blackouts

Nissan Leafs will be used in the trial because their two-way batteries can provide power to the network if needed.(Supplied: Nissan)

A fleet of electric cars will be plugged into Australia's biggest power grid to help protect it against blackouts and voltage fluctuations.

The 51 vehicles in Canberra will be part of a trial — the first of its kind in the country — to gauge how well car batteries can stabilise the electricity network.

The ACT Government is providing 50 Nissan Leaf vehicles while Canberra-based utility ActewAGL will provide the other.

Unlike some other electric vehicles, the Nissans have two-way batteries, meaning they can be charged from the grid but also provide power if needed.

The problem of grid instability has plagued Australia in recent years.

The sudden collapse of power lines during events like this summer's bushfires can cause surges that destroy transmission equipment.

Widespread blackouts in South Australia in 2016, when a storm damaged ageing electricity towers, led that state to build the world's biggest battery to support the grid during crises.

The ACT project's research leader, Bjorn Sturmberg from the Australian National University, said the trial would assess how well a car fleet could balance supply and demand across the network.

"When electric cars are plugged in, they could be called on in a heartbeat to avoid a mass power outage," Dr Sturmberg said.

"They'll only have to do this a couple of dozen times a year — when there's a storm or some other emergency in the grid — which means the grid needs power really quickly.

"The batteries in the electric vehicles can then inject power in a fraction of a second."

The Federal Government has funded the research, along with businesses such as Nissan and JET Charge, which makes chargers that allow cars to support the grid.

ActewAGL executive Todd Eagles said the project was a crucial first step in rolling out the technology across the national energy market.

"Electric vehicles are a big part of the future energy solution in Australia," he said.

Dr Sturmberg also said car owners who used their vehicles to help protect the grid could expect to earn about $1,000 a year by doing so.

In most cases, the plugged-in car would only be needed for up to 15 minutes at a time, draining the battery by no more than 5 per cent.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics says the number of electric vehicles registered across the country almost doubled over the past year.

The cars' costs remain relatively high — the Nissan Leaf, for example, sells for about $50,000 — but electric vehicles tend to be significantly cheaper to run and maintain than cars with petrol engines.


(Votes: 0)

Other News

OUR LADY AGED CARE CENTRE LIMITED LAYING OF FOUNDATION STONE CEREMONY Number of returning travellers allowed to enter Australia could be restricted as states carry coronavirus quarantine burden Government could bring income tax cuts forward in response to COVID‑19 Girl, 14, arrested after death of 10yo girl in Gunnedah, north-west NSW New Zealand to charge coronavirus patient who escaped hotel quarantine Border mayor pleads for patience over 'dog's breakfast' of a closure Man faces court after $4 million found in car on Queensland highway Melbourne plane passengers allowed to leave Sydney Airport without health tests Banks to extend mortgage loan deferral to customers still struggling with coronavirus restrictions What to do if you're on holiday across the border ahead of closure Returned traveller tests positive for coronavirus after being released from hotel quarantine, NSW Health confirms Queensland police turn away hundreds of Victorian travellers under new border controls NSW-Victoria border to close after COVID-19 spike in Melbourne Police investigate after man dies at NSW Hunter Region rubbish tip Letter sent to residents sparks fears over real length of 'hard' lockdown Labor's Kristy McBain claims Eden-Monaro by-election victory against Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs Three men die after boat capsizes off La Perouse in Sydney's south Woman killed by car while taking mother to specialist appointment Eden-Monaro by-election will be won by Labor, ABC elections analyst Antony Green says Cap on international arrivals introduced at Sydney Airport to ease coronavirus quarantine demands The Victorian postcode 'hotspots' and suburbs put in lockdown Thousands march in Brisbane over black deaths in custody Victoria records 108 new coronavirus infections, locks down suburbs and public housing Victorians fined after van gets bogged trying to cross South Australia border Victoria Police will use number plate recognition cameras to detect cars from coronavirus hotspots Melbourne residents caught flouting stay at home orders amid second wave of COVID-19 Son charged with mum's murder at Perth home Melbourne coronavirus scare as NSW man who tested positive returned to work at Sydney Woolworths Victoria records 77 new coronavirus cases and jump in community transmission of COVID-19 Coronavirus vaccine candidate developed in Adelaide lab to start human trials