Smart charging pilot cuts carbon emissions by aligning charging to peak periods of wind generation
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EV Charging
Jun 29, 2023
Katie Ingram

Nova Scotia Power achieves 10 per cent reduction in carbon emissions with smart EV chargers at more than 100 customer sites

A just-completed EV smart charging pilot project has successfully demonstrated Nova Scotia’s capability to make EV charging cleaner by syncing charging with peak periods of wind-power generation.

Nova Scotia Power achieves 10 per cent reduction in carbon emissions with smart EV chargers at over 100 customer sites

In 2021, wind power provided 17 per cent of the energy produced for Nova Scotians by Nova Scotia Power.

Now, a just-completed smart charging pilot project has successfully demonstrated the province’s capability to make EV charging cleaner by adding some of that wind power to its charging arsenal.

Nova Scotia Power and cloud-based EV charging platform jointly ran the pilot. Administrators aligned smart charger demand from over 100 participating customers with peaks in wind power availability.

The result: a 10 per cent reduction in carbon emissions instead of charging starting the moment the vehicles were plugged in.

Following the wind

“We’re excited about being able to correlate carbon emission reduction to this wind-following experiment by encouraging charging when the wind generation forecast is going to be high and discouraging charging when it was going to be low,” says Ed Cullinan, Nova Scotia Power’s manager of product development, in an interview with Electric Autonomy.

Cullinan says pilot operators relied on weather trends and predictions to find Nova Scotia’s wind highs and lows.

“The number one thing about the program is that the vehicles always get the charge they need, so the drivers are in control and the vehicle is going to be charged when the driver wants it,” he says. “That is part of the recipe as well.”

The wind-following project was just one element of Nova Scotia Power’s overall Electric Vehicle Smart Charging Pilot, which ran for 30 months, starting in 2020, and officially ends this month on June 30.

That original program started with 100 participants who received controllable “smart” EV chargers. According to a utility spokesperson, “we extended the program to 100 more participants through the vehicle telematics platform and transitioned some of the existing participants to the platform.”

Applying results to create value

Cullinan says the smart charging pilot, in its entirety, helped its facilitators better understand the EV charging process on many levels.

“While wind-following was one of our most exciting experiments, the program executed a number of short experiments that we iterated through over the course of the last year, including what we call load-levelling,” says Cullinan.

“That is basically just reducing peak demand from EV charging, being able to level out after a period of time and shift it to a later period of time. And we learned how to do that well, how to distribute that across sort of the entire evening hours; instead of just at one time.”

These moves reduce stress on the grid and save EV customers money.

Now that the pilot is over, Cullinan says the utility and its partner are in “analysis mode.”

“We’re looking at all the data, sifting through that, and analyzing how we can create sustainable value going forward,” he says. Then [we’ll] make the case to the regulator and also to our customers to join us in this journey.”

Given the results, it’s likely that linking EV charging to the availability of wind power and other renewable sources will be part of that future.

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