The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved $11.7 million in funding for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to develop three new pilot programs to test ways in which bidirectional EVs and chargers can provide power to the electric grid and various benefits to customers.
PG&E will test bidirectional charging technology in a variety of settings, including in homes, businesses and with local microgrids. The pilots will test the ability of EVs to send power back to the grid and provide power to customers during an outage.
The new pilots are separate from collaborations announced in March with GM and Ford.
Each of the new programs offers a financial incentive for participating customers, and additional benefits for those in disadvantaged communities. All three are expected to be available to customers in 2022 and 2023, and to continue until incentives run out.
The 400,000 EVs registered in PG&E’s service area represent a flexible grid resource, which could offer cost savings associated with operating and maintaining the grid, and reduce the need to build new standalone energy storage systems.
The approved pilot programs:
- The V2X Residential Pilot ($7.5 million in funding) will focus on spurring adoption of bidirectional technologies for 1,000 residential customers by 2023. Customers will receive at least $2,500 for enrolling, and up to an additional $2,175 depending on their participation. The pilot will seek to validate five value streams: backup power; customer bill management; system real-time energy; system renewable integration; and EV export for grid services.
- The V2X Commercial Pilot ($2.7 million) will explore how commercial EVs could provide backup power to buildings, optimize EV charging to support the deferral of distribution grid upgrades, and align charging with the real-time cost of energy procurement. This pilot will be open to approximately 200 business customers, who will receive at least $2,500 for enrolling, and up to an additional $3,625 depending on their participation.
- The V2M Public Safety Power Shutoff Microgrid Pilot ($1.5 million) will explore how EVs plugged into community microgrids can support community resiliency during Public Safety Power Shutoff events. This pilot will be open to 200 customers located in High Fire-Threat District (HFTD) locations that contain compatible microgrids. Customers will receive at least $2,500 for enrolling, and up to an additional $3,750 depending on their participation.
PG&E submitted a fourth proposed pilot focused on creating ways for EVs to participate in CAISO markets, but this was rejected by the CPUC in its current form.