Interplay between LV Grids and EVs’ Charging Flexibility

A Smart Charging Approach

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The electrification of all sectors is essential to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. In terms of mobility, many nations around the globe envisage a zero-emission fleet resulting in a massive deployment of Electric Vehicles (EV). Nevertheless, this goes hand-in-hand with some challenges related to congestion and voltage problems in power grids caused by inadequate grid capacity. When grid reinforcement cannot keep up with the increasing demand for electricity, both in terms of planning and excessive financial means, smarter, more efficient solutions should solve the problem.

This thesis aims at providing an optimal strategy for consumers’ flexibility distribution by smartly charging EVs in Low Voltage (LV) grids. In that way, grid reinforcement should be reduced to a minimum. In order to do so, the main contribution of this work is covered by the development of a smart, optimal charging model that tries to comply with grid constraints including voltage and congestion boundaries. Mathematical (near) real-time optimisation is used together with the receding horizon optimisation principle. The work of this thesis relates to a typical urban LV grid in the Netherlands.

First, the required level of grid reinforcement was investigated by means of quantifying the voltage and congestion problems in the LV grid. This was done by applying uncontrolled charging scenarios up to 2050 for both winter and summer.

After investigating the uncontrolled scenarios, the need for an optimal smart charging strategy became apparent. This was developed afterwards. The results showed that in 2050, 94.5% of line congestion and 100% of transformer congestion and voltage problems could be bypassed with smart charging only. This was achieved by implementing grid constraints at the most vulnerable locations in the power grid.
Consequently, the need for grid reinforcement could be almost completely avoided till at least 2050.

Lastly, this work distinguishes itself from others by extensively reflecting on the integration of three concepts: a novel recently developed tariff structure, the effect of bidirectional charging, as well as the necessity for grid constraints. This allows summarising the benefits for all stakeholders including the distribution system operator, the charge point operator and EV owners. The final conclusion can be made that including these three concepts results in one of the most favourable investigated strategies for all three parties together.