Keep track of the latest from Synop

Book a Demo

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
June 8, 2023
Thought leadership

EV fleets as peaker plants: A reason for optimism

blog home
AUTHOR | Mark Braby, Chief Commercial Officer at Synop

A combination of recent data, proposed legislation, and Synop's advancements in virtual power plants (VPP) and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities have strengthened my belief that we are making significant progress in replacing peaker plants as the primary source of easily dispatchable generation. For context, V2G is a subset of VPP capabilities that encompass various grid services, including V1G and others. These services involve controllable loads and distributed generators contributing to the balancing of electricity supply and demand. Traditionally, peaker plants primarily powered by natural gas were employed for this purpose, but they generate higher emissions compared to a VPP consisting of loads powered by clean energy sources, such as solar and wind, stored in stationary and vehicular storage systems.

Recent data: The Brattle Group recently conducted a study comparing the costs of a VPP and a peaker plant. The results showed that a VPP is 40-60% cheaper, and when considering societal benefits, it actually yields a net negative cost. These figures are supported by an excellent analysis that highlights we are at an inflection point for VPP deployments.

Proposed legislation: Senate Bill 233 in California would mandate V2G capabilities for automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Considering the matrix of OEMs offering V2G functionality, this requirement is essential. However, it should not be considered the only approach. I strongly believe that price signals, and the availability ofV2G programs, are even more critical  in driving progress. Once the price signal and economic incentives are in place, the industry stakeholders (charger and vehicle manufactures) will follow based on pressure from their customers.

Synop advancements: In recent weeks, Synop has executed 2MWh of V2G activity. This includes coordinating V2G across a bank of chargers while also optimizing vehicle state of charge to ensure it meets V2G event requirements while maintaining sufficient charge for the morning's routes. Notably, when setting the charging schedule for the V2G events, the Synop platform had to take into account numerous constraints including:

  1. Ensuring the vehicle has enough energy to meet its commitment to the utility.
  2. Maintained sufficient state of charge while pre-conditioning the vehicle for the event.
  3. Actively managed the event at a vehicle level in order to modulate discharge to reach target SOC by event conclusion and ensure vehicle and charger readiness for recharge.
  4. Enabling the vehicle to be recharged after the event to meet its mileage needs for the morning departure.

VPPs have long been considered the holy grail of low emission, distributed, more cost effective capacity.  It now appears we are approaching that long-awaited inflection point. It’s VPPs time to shine, and I’m proud of the work our Synop team is doing to push the envelope.

Interested in Synop software? Click here to book a demo!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.