Electric vehicles charging

Flinders University has unveiled a landmark Electric Vehicle (EV) charging station, showcasing award-winning bidirectional vehicle-to-grid technology.

The South Australia Government-backed project showcases a collaboration between ENGIE and Flinders University, bringing ten Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) chargers online.

The V2G charging bays can charge and discharge electricity to the campus’s electricity grid, creating a virtual power plant (VPP) to benefit the university’s fleet, staff and students.

The project demonstrates how EVs can be harnessed to support South Australia’s electricity system during periods of peak demand.

The university already has regular DC and AC chargers available to those with electric vehicles, with the entire network delivering the university’s solar and wind-sourced energy.

The V2G bays will be used to feed renewable energy from compatible EVs back into the campus grid as part of the new VPP established by ENGIE for the trial.

Flinders University won the Sustainable Development Goals Initiative of the Year Award at the Triple E Awards in Barcelona for the project.

The initiative is one of several funded under the South Australian Government’s $3.2 million Smart Charging Trials. Data from the trials will frame and inform the future direction of EVs in South Australia as the state strives for net zero emissions by 2050.

The trials complement South Australia’s statewide EV charging network being rolled out by the RAA, delivering more than 500 charging bays to 140 sites in 52 locations.

South Australia Premier, Tom Koutsantonis, said, “South Australian ingenuity has taken its place on the world stage yet again with this award-winning smart charging trial.

“We are delighted to see this bold trial at Flinders hit its first key milestone, charging electric vehicles and feeding power back into the grid when needed, demonstrating how EVs can be harnessed to support SA’s electricity system during peak demand periods.

“More and more electric vehicles will be hitting our roads in years to come as we travel towards net zero emissions. With trials like this investigating the possibilities for broad use of this technology we can be confident we are on the right track.”

Flinders University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Stirling, said, “As part of our mission to be climate positive and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions we’re investing in a growing fleet of electric vehicles and the infrastructure needed to support them – including bidirectional smart chargers which will enable our EVs to store electricity at our Bedford Park campus for use during periods of peak demand.

“Flinders University runs on 100 per cent renewable energy, including 20 per cent generated right here on campus through our massive solar arrays. Thanks to the South Australian Government’s Electric Vehicle Smart Charging Trial, we’re taking another big step towards sustainability.

“With inspiring education and research into solar and battery technologies we’re supporting South Australia’s transition to a renewable world, underpinned by incredible research growth of 140 per cent in just five years.”

ENGIE ANZ Chief Executive Officer, Rik De Buyserie, said, “This program not only helps Flinders University achieve its sustainability targets, but also signals the huge uplift in demand and increasing awareness of the extended benefits of transitioning to an EV fleet.

“The integration of renewable energy, EV charging and demand management systems better matches renewable output to a site’s demand, reduces emissions and puts downward pressure on electricity prices.”

Assistant Editor, Utility magazine

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