EV smart charging and distributed energy resources trial to launch in Raglan

WEL Networks and Raglan Local Energy are launching an electric vehicle (EV) smart charging and distributed energy resources (DERs) trial.

To prepare the electricity network for the future, the 36 month Raglan-based trial will use smart charging units to understand the way EV drivers charge their vehicles at home and the integration impact on the WEL network. 

The trial, made up of 10 Raglan-based EV owners, will use smart chargers that are fully integrated into WEL’s Distributed Energy Resources Management System (DERMS). This platform allows multiple devices to be controlled remotely (including EV chargers, solar, battery storage etc.) using artificial intelligence with benefits for customers, including household level protection from overloading due to increased electricity consumption and lower running costs. 

 The objective of the trial will be to enable a better energy future for customers using a data-driven innovative service model, to improve the economics and appeal of EVs by shifting charging from times of the day when energy is more expensive to off-peak periods, and when wholesale prices are low – typically when wind and solar are generating strongly, WEL Networks Chief Executive Garth Dibley says. 

“As part of the Government’s push to drive down climate emissions, transportation is one of the biggest opportunities we have in the energy sector to help New Zealand achieve a low-carbon economy. As EV uptake increases, the EV network integration will have a significant impact on energy affordability and network reliability. 

 “Smart charging enables charging at times when demand is lowest and electricity is cheapest which reduces the impact on the network and the cost to the customer. Through the learnings of this trial, it will allow us to prioritise the right resources at the right time to meet the increased demand that’s expected from the electrification of transport,” he says. 

Dibley says the community involvement and engagement with Raglan Local Energy, which started in February 2020, has been one of the major success stories to date. 

 “We want to continue to encourage locals, through proactive engagement and collaboration throughout this trial, to be part of network solutions. We also want to ensure that EV owners have a positive experience using the network to charge their vehicles. We hope this trial will help us understand how we can maximise the benefits to customers by offering products that reduce their EV charging costs, as well as how we can manage EV charging in a way that helps with grid and network stability,” Dibley says. 

 The trial will start in November 2021. To find out more about the trial and if you’d like to participate please express your interest via raglanlocalenergy.co.nz/faq or email: communication@wel.co.nz. There are a limited number of chargers available. Terms and Conditions apply.