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In Porto Santo, the energy transition barrels ahead

Published by on 05.27.2018 - 3 min

ZOEs and Kangoo Z.E.s are part of an experiment combining intelligent charging, vehicle-to-grid and stationary energy storage systems on the island of Porto Santo, Portugal. The goal: to integrate these cars into an intelligent electrical ecosystem capable of propelling the energy transition forward.

Porto Santo, in the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira, offers conditions that are very favourable to the development of renewable energies; however, up until now, this blowy island still lacked the infrastructure necessary to fully capitalise on intermittent energy sources such as solar and wind. How, for example, can an electric car be recharged at the precise moments electricity is being produced, in order to limit the use of expensive fossil fuels imported from the mainland?

To study this issue, the regional government of Madeira and the local electricity supplier, EEM (Empresa de Eletricidade da Madeira), solicited Renault’s expertise. Together, they laid the groundwork for a public-private partnership dedicated to creating an “intelligent electric ecosystem”.

The project is taking the form of an 18-month programme during which Porto Santo residents will test the technological solutions needed to create this intelligent ecosystem in real conditions. 20 volunteers have a fleet of 16 ZOEs and 6 Kangoo Z.E.s at their disposal, backed by a network of 40 charging stations set up by a startup partner.

Intelligent charging, vehicle-to-grid and stationary energy storage systems

All of the facilities take advantage of intelligent charging, which triggers the flow of electricity based on production peaks. In March 2019, the 20 pilot cars have been joined by 2 new prototype vehicles capable, thanks to bidirectional charging, of giving some of the energy stored in their batteries to help the network meet the needs of consumption peaks.

To complete the project, since the end of 2018, used batteries from Renault’s electric vehicles support this temporary storage capacity by directly fuelling the energy produced by Porto Santo’s solar and wind power plants. The electricity is then be put back into the grid to meet demand when it exceeds the capacity of the renewable energy sources.

After 18 months of experimentation, Porto Santo will have learned how to build, manage and maintain the ecosystem made up of these different solutions. The Madeira archipelago and the company EEM will then determine how to deploy this smart grid over the full scale of this small island of 43 km² for its 5,500 inhabitants. The goal: to reduce Porto Santo’s dependence on fossil fuels by 80%. As for Groupe Renault, it will capitalise on its acquired experience to deploy these technologies in other territories, always with the aim of making them accessible to as many people as possible.

Copyrights: Hadrien PICARD, LCCD TULIPES & CIE