ACT electric fleet vehicles powered grid during energy emergency


Sixteen ACT Government fleet electric vehicles (EVs) fed power back into Australia’s electricity grid during a major power emergency in February 2024.

Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury said the response proves the viability of vehicle-to-grid technology tested as part of the Realising Electric Vehicles to Grid Services (REVS) trial which commenced in 2020.

“This was potentially the first time in the world that this type of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) response has been used to assist during a power emergency,” Minister Rattenbury said.

“In February this year, a blackout on the Australian energy grid was caused by major storms in Melbourne. At the time of the incident, 16 government fleet EVs were plugged into V2G smart chargers at locations across the ACT with 4 of them actively charging, and 12 sitting idle.

“These 16 EVs received a signal from the grid and started supplying power back into the grid within seconds, exactly as they were programmed to do.

“V2G technology works using a bi-directional charger, meaning the energy from an EV battery can be quickly enabled to start sending electricity back into the grid, just like rooftop solar. In this case, the emergency response lasted only a few minutes before the grid stabilised and the cars began charging again as normal. There was minimal disruption to the availability of the vehicles themselves.

“The ACT continues to lead on the adoption of clean, innovative energy technologies. These results show that V2G can be a powerful contributor to the security of our electricity grid, while also reducing emissions from transport.

“With EV uptake continuing to grow, V2G can play a pivotal role in the ACT and across Australia as we transition our national energy systems away from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy.” Minister Rattenbury said.

The REVS project was co-funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the ACT Government and led by ActewAGL Retail in partnership with Evoenergy, Nissan, Jetcharge, SG Fleet, the Australian National University and Accenture. The 16 vehicles that responded to this incident were part of the fleet of 51 Nissan Leaf vehicles involved with the REVS trial.

Enabling V2G technology is a commitment in the ACT’s first Integrated Energy Plan. For more information on the ACT’s pathway to electrification, visit the Everyday Climate Choices website.

Quotes attributable to Ross De Rango, Head of Energy and Infrastructure at Electric Vehicle Council

“V2G represents a huge opportunity for Australia.

“Over time it will put downward pressure on energy bills for everyone (not just EV drivers) and enable us to close coal and gas fired power stations sooner.  We’ll be able to meet significant amounts of energy system peak demand from our cars, rather than from burning fossil fuels, and then recharge them later on from excess wind or solar.

“With the right support from government Australia could build on our world leading position in rooftop solar to become a world leader in V2G as well.”