Norway – capital of Sweden, with polar bears in its streets? Norway – where the world’s longest TV show “Hurtigruta minutt for minutt” (134 continuous hours!) made it to the list over Norwegian national heritage alongside the original manuscript of the Norwegian constitution. Norway – with its breathtaking scenery, fjords and mountains. Norway – the land of milk and honey with endless supply of fish, oil and carbon neutral hydropower.
There are many myths and unbelievable truths about this elongated country near the North Pole counting less than 6 million inhabitants. Still, we have more (electro) shocking news.
Today, in a global perspective, Norway is a forerunner in the prevalence of electric vehicles (EV’s) with almost 60.000 EV’s in the national car park today, compared to less than 20.000 in 2013. This dramatic penetration of EV’s in Norway is largely thanks to strong political incentives and tax benefits resulting in the fact that Norway has one of the highest densities of EV’s pr. capita – worldwide!
Blessed with a typology that has given Norwegians a natural access to green energy, and historically low electricity bills, the introduction of more efficient electrical appliances with high power output in households (such as induction ovens, instant water heaters, etc.) sets new demands to the supply of energy output. Adding on to the trend of more energy efficient appliances, the escalating popularity of EV’s and the accompanying increase in demand for charging puts even more pressure on the power grids. As a result, when many EV’s need charging simultaneously, the local distribution grid may experience capacity shortages. Until now, this has meant that power grid companies have had to make costly investments in infrastructure to meet these demands. An investment, which eventually takes form as an increased invoice from your local grid supplier.
Through the R&D project ChargeFlex, a feasible alternative to costly grid reinforcements is the main goal of the project. eSmart Systems sets forth to develop a software that utilizes the flexibility in the grid with the aim to increase local network capacity by 25 percent. This flexibility is made possible through smart management of charging EVs connected to the grid, playing amongst others the role of flexible storage capacity. As a funny twist of irony, the devices causing some grid owners to refuse to build charging stations because of the suspected strain in the power grid it would cause are the same devices that just might be the pillar in future and smart management of power grids and energy loads.
As mentioned, the main goal in ChargeFlex is increasing local network capacity with 25 percent by developing software to manage the added flexibility you get introducing EV’s, demand and response philosophy, and smart management into the equation. This includes exploring the following objectives:
- Development of prediction models for charging demand, capacity constraints and available flexibility
- Utilization of big data and real-time analytics technology
- Implementation of optimization models for flexible energy resources
The ChargeFlex Consortium consists of eSmart Systems (project manager), Smart Innovation Østfold, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Østfold County Council, Proxll, Fortum Charge & Drive and grid operators Fredrikstad EnergiNett and Sogn og Fjordane Nett.
ChargeFlex is funded by The Norwegian Research Council’s program ENERGIX, through a special call «Pioneering research – new concepts in business».
To follow the project, feel free to like and follow ChargeFlex on facebook.
Astri Irene Fotland
Project Manager, eSmart Systems