Active integration of electric vehicles in the distribution network - theory, modelling and practice

Publication: ResearchPh.D. thesis – Annual report year: 2017

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Increasing environmental concerns are driving an evolution of the energy system, in which the electrification of the transport sector is considered to be a crucial element. Successful electric vehicle (EV) introduction potentially allows the reduction of CO2 emissions, but also represents a substantial challenge for the power system, especially at the distribution level where high EV concentrations cause various detrimental effects. More specifically, the low-voltage grid operation becomes challenging since uncontrolled EV charging typically coincides with the peak residential consumption, resulting in a considerable peak load and severe voltage deviations. However, EVs hold potential for providing services beyond transportation and, thus, should not be considered merely as passive loads. If managed properly, EVs become flexible resources which can enhance the grid operation, making them an attractive asset for the distribution system operator (DSO). This thesis investigates how EVs can mitigate the self-induced adverse effects and actively help the distribution grid operation, either autonomously or in coordination, e.g., with an EV aggregator. The general framework for EV integration is presented, including the contemporary technology, the relevant stakeholders and the most important challenges. EV flexibility provision to DSOs is studied both from the technical and the regulatory perspective in order to identify the barriers for active EV involvement, and provide a set of policy recommendations for overcoming them. The potential benefits and drawbacks of introducing EV reactive power capability for voltage support are analysed. A decentralised reactive power control is proposed which can, given the appropriate equipment sizing, support the distribution grid independent of the active power modulation. Such an autonomous controller relies only on the local voltage measurement and can be implemented in the short-term future by using the inherent functionality of the EV power electronics. The impact of the proposed control is investigated on a Danish low-voltage grid with the assessment of grid parameters in various conditions. A multi-objective framework is developed for the optimal EV day-ahead scheduling in unbalanced distribution grids. The framework assesses the trade-off between the DSO’s and the EV aggregator’s economic concerns, and uses a fuzzy-satisfying method to balance the interest of both parties. Moreover, the impact of the additional EV reactive power support is analysed when EVs are the only flexible resource, as well as when combined with other demand response. Experimental activities were conducted to validate the technical feasibility of contemporary EVs to provide flexibility services, both in a laboratory environment and in a real distribution grid. The emphasis was put on assessing several EV parameters, such as EV responsiveness and EV accuracy, to provide basis for future theoretical work, as well as recommendations for improvement. Overall, it is shown that EVs can actively support the distribution grid operation, but there is a critical gap between the political sustainability plans, and the implemented standards and regulatory framework. Moreover, it is demonstrated that DSOs can benefit from the potential EV reactive power control without substantially influencing the losses or the EV aggregator’s cost. Finally, it is proven that series-produced EVs are capable of providing various flexibility services within several seconds, but their accuracy might arise as a topic of concern.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherTechnical University of Denmark, Department of Electrical Engineering
Number of pages228
StatePublished - 2017
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