Bidirectional charging: Europe’s path to energy flexibility

SmartEN & DNV have outlined the critical role and current barriers to harnessing electric vehicles (EVs) for energy flexibility. The report highlights the potential of bidirectional charging, also known as vehicle-to-everything (V2X) and vehicle-to-grid (V2G), in contributing to demand-side flexibility (DSF), a pivotal solution to Europe's growing energy flexibility needs.
The study underscores that while large-scale energy storage has been the focal point, the significance of smaller-scale solutions like V2X is often underestimated. With EVs doubling as decentralised energy resources, they can store energy and release it back to the grid, providing much-needed balance and efficiency. However, the report notes that for V2X technology to progress beyond its nascent stage, a robust regulatory framework and access to markets are essential.

Europe faces a pressing need to unlock the flexibility of EVs for a fair and equitable energy transition. The study argues that without bidirectional charging, the potential of terawatt-hours of batteries brought into Europe annually through EVs remains largely untapped, with these batteries sitting idle 90% of the time.

The report assesses the regulatory environment across European countries, evaluating them against a framework comprising EV and charging development, regulatory, policy and market considerations, and grid and system considerations. The analysis reveals that barriers similar to those faced by other demand-side flexibility solutions and energy storage types are hindering V2X’s widespread adoption. Notable impediments include double taxation on stored energy, inconsistent market access, and complex technical requirements.

To address these challenges, SmartEN & DNV propose a suite of policy and market recommendations aimed at fostering V2X technology roll-out across Europe. These include removing double taxation on stored energy, implementing existing EU legislation to promote V2X, mandating bidirectional charging for public fleets and buildings with renewable energy sources, and ensuring V2X’s participation in existing market mechanisms.

The report emphasises the substantial benefits Europe stands to gain from embracing V2X. With projections indicating that smart charging and V2G in just 30% of EU charge points can provide 26 GW of flexible power by 2030 and yield financial benefits of €9.9 billion across the EU, the need for regulatory reform is clear. The study concludes that even modest increases in V2X uptake, driven by the recommended reforms, can significantly impact the EU’s energy landscape.

Source: Assessment of the regulatory framework of bidirectional EV charging in Europe | SmartEN & DNV

Source: Assessment of the regulatory framework of bidirectional EV charging in Europe | SmartEN & DNV
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