Electric vehicles are wonderful things in and of themselves, but they will only reach their full potential as components of an integrated “ecosystem” that also includes renewable energy, stationary storage and an intelligent electrical grid.
With this in mind, the University of California, Riverside has launched its Sustainable Integrated Grid Initiative, a project that will research the integration of intermittent renewable energy, such as photovoltaic panels; energy storage, such as batteries; and all types of electric and hybrid vehicles.
The project’s test bed, which is located at UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT), includes 4 megawatts of photovoltaic panels, 2 megawatt-hours of battery energy storage, 27 EV charging stations and a battery-electric trolley bus, as well as energy monitoring, management and control tools developed by UC Riverside engineering students.
The project aims to demonstrate that EVs can be seamlessly introduced into the existing grid system through “smart integration” of renewable energy, storage and advanced dispatch controls. The test bed platform will be used to evaluate the performance of different energy storage systems, smart grid protocols and various forms of electric transportation.
A research consortium that includes technology companies, utilities, energy agencies, investors and venture capital firms will build upon these research goals as new technologies develop. The initiative will also provide hands-on research opportunities for hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students.
“This project puts UC Riverside at the forefront of smart grid and electric vehicle research, providing a unique platform for engineers and utilities to identify and solve potential problems at scale,” said CE-CERT Director Matthew Barth.