Last May, journalists from several European countries set off to learn more about the Smart Fossil Free Island programme being developed on the Portuguese island of Porto Santo, off the west coast of Africa. What they saw is a truly open-air laboratory, where the electric mobility of the future and the technologies behind it are being tested in the field. Read on for an overview of what everyone thought.
The Polish journalists report that the Smart Fossil Free Island experiment’s plan to limit CO2 emissions and promote Porto Santo’s energy self-sufficiency rests on 4 pillars: Renault electric vehicles, smart charging, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and the stationary energy storage produced by the island’s solar and wind power plants using old batteries from Renault electric cars. Porto Santo is proof that this type of ecosystem can work, and that it is ready to be implemented elsewhere.
The Swiss reporters highlight the role that ZOEs equipped with two-way charging capabilities play in maintaining balance across the electricity grid and in the development of greener forms of energy.
Vehicles are transformed into genuine miniature power plants, able to store electricity from renewable energy sources when demand is low, and then to reinject it into the grid when there’s a spike in consumption.
The car of the future will meet a two-pronged challenge: producing “zero emissions”(1) when in use and generating low-carbon energy for the purpose of recharging its battery.
The Italian reporters underscore Renault’s commitment to electric mobility on a large scale. With technologies like two-way charging and stationary energy battery storage systems, Groupe Renault—the pioneer and leader of electric vehicles in Europe—is doubly ambitious: it wants to participate in the development of smart electricity ecosystems and to promote energy transition.
Porto Santo thus appears to be its ideal playground, not only due to its windy and sunny climate, but its self-contained and independent electrical grid as well.
The French press also made a point of the Renault ZOE’s contribution, both to stabilising the grid and to increasing the amount of green electricity produced.
The production of electricity primarily from renewable energy sources, which are by definition intermittent, is a permanent challenge for this Portuguese island of 5,000, which is totally independent from the rest of the Madeira Region when it comes to energy.
In the long term, a fleet of 500 electric vehicles equipped with two-way charging could help reach the goal of 85% “renewable” electricity, compared to 15% at present.
For the German journalists, the skills and technologies brought together by the alliance of car manufacturer Renault, energy company Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira and start-up The Mobility House foreshadow a future where mobility merges with the management of the electrical grid, creating a smart ecosystem.
They also point out that the “intelligence” of the island is based first and foremost on two-way charging, while the purchasing price of an electric vehicle is still a major issue in the way of widespread adoption.
The British reporters reveal the key role that Renault electric vehicles play in the construction of a smart grid, recalling that similar projects involving two-way charging and energy storage using second-life batteries have also been carried out on Belle-île-en-Mer, in France, and in Utrecht, in the Netherlands.
They also look forward to a future when owners of electric vehicles equipped with two-way charging capabilities can make several hundred euros a year by selling the energy stored in the batteries during production peaks back to the grid.
Having witnessed how smoothly the whole system runs, the Portuguese media makes a plea for the acceleration of the project via an increase in the number of electric vehicles in circulation on Porto Santo, aid from the regional government to incentivise their purchase and the extension of the project to the neighbouring island of Madeira.
(1) Zero atmospheric emissions of CO2 or pollutants while driving (excluding wear parts)
Copyrights : PICARD, HadrienAge (LCCD TULIPES & CIE), Renault, Renault Communication – Droits réservés, AndreyPopov, CALISTO, Paulo (Renault Portugal)
Cities & planning