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Made-in-Italy V2G for the energy transition

Vehicle-To-Grid technology will revolutionise the future electricity market, beginning also from the charging hub in Turin.

Vehicle-to-Grid technology ("V2G") is one of the most exciting developments in the energy sector in recent years. In short, this technology allows bidirectional charging of electric vehicles, allowing them to both withdraw from and input energy into the grid, "supporting" it during critical periods. This is a structural revolution which Terna, FCA and Engie Eps have decided to actively participate in, taking on an enabling role in the energy transition.

On the 14 September, the new charging hub was inaugurated at the Mirafiori facility in Turin, designed and developed through collaboration of the three companies, with 32 bidirectional, fast-charge stations for a total of 64 vehicles, which can be charged with a maximum power of 50 kW and return power to the grid when required. This 100% "made-in-Italy" project aims to become the largest V2G plant in the world, with the capability of charging up to 700 vehicles simultaneously.

Behind this ambitious project is the goal to create a concrete opportunity for the Italian industrial and electricity system, exploring the possibilities and solutions that this new technology offers in terms of grid management, sustainability and savings.

Massimiliano Garri, head of Innovation and Digital Solutions at Terna (photo by FCA)

The presence of an ever broader and more competitive offer is leading to significant growth in the electric car sector; these vehicles not only represent a green alternative but a true potential energy source that is hugely significant in the context of electricity-system management. As explained by Massimiliano Garri, Head of Innovation and Digital Solutions at Terna, smart and bidirectional interaction between car and grid would offer Terna greater resources in terms of flexibility and innovative services, guaranteeing an increasingly efficient and reliable service. Electric vehicles, used in this way, would become hugely important for all aspects of grid regulation, achieving greater balance across the entire system. "For a system operator like Terna, which has to guarantee balance on the grid of all connected resources, harnessing the flexibility offered by cars represents a further source of stability to guarantee electricity-system operations", explained the manager.

Carlalberto Guglielminotti, CEO of ENGIE Eps, underlined how electrical mobility represents the final step towards the definitive paradigm shift of the energy transition. Revolutionary technology such as V2G, if installed at strategic points, can transform a hub of connected vehicles into "a huge sustainable storage system". Participation of electric vehicles in all electricity markets, as suppliers of electricity both directly and via aggregators, thus allows "increased usage of renewable electricity for greater decarbonisation".

The V2G charging hub in Turin (photo by FCA)

Vehicle-to-Grid also represents an opportunity to optimise the running costs of cars to the benefit of drivers. Applicable legislation currently defines the establishment of aggregators, i.e. operators that enter into V2G contracts with end users, to consolidate a minimum total storage capacity that allows access to the electricity market. At this point, every consumer within the relevant aggregator becomes a buyer/seller of energy, with the end result of reducing their overall energy bill. This does not undermine usage of the vehicle, but rather enhances its functionality.

ARERA has defined initial guidelines so that electric vehicles can genuinely become active players in the system, but it is now time to work out the details. On the one hand, experimentation with Terna, FCA and ENGIE V2G will transform into widespread growth only once a common language between car and charging infrastructure is developed, and on the other, it is fundamental that this new technology is incentivised, also in terms of purchasing electric vehicles. Minister Stefano Patuanelli, speaking at the presentation in Turin, stated at the end of the event that “the Ministry of Economic Development has established constant collaboration and dialogue with the parties involved in shaping the future of mobility in our country”: this is an important starting point to root electric cars in an ecosystem composed of services and solutions for this type of mobility, to the benefit of the grid and all parties.