Smart charging for system flexibility

Overview of the status and impact of the innovation

Innovation 2


The flexibility from smart charging not only benefits local distribution systems, it can also benefit the entire system through interoperability among local flexibility markets. The principle is simple: non-activated bids in local flexibility markets are forwarded to transmission system operator (TSO) markets with similar requirements (e.g. manual frequency restoration reserve) as long as they do not create additional congestion in the local grid (smartEN, 2022). Using this approach for frequency regulation is already technically feasible and economically profitable, as shown in the Nordic grid, Great Britain, France and Germany, among others.

New rules and regulations that can support this innovation include increasing the time granularity in electricity markets, defining new ancillary services, allowing DERs’ participation in wholesale and ancillary service markets, and increasing co-operation between TSOs and DSOs.


System flexibility provisions will help place a monetary value on flexibility and increase the ability to control demand, enabling both TSOs and DSOs to better integrate EVs into the grid and realise the many benefits of that integration. That, in turn, will encourage faster adoption of EVs.

BOX 3.14 Examples of smart charging providing system flexibility

Norway’s NorFlex project was able to supply 3 MW of flexibility from the local flexibility platform to the transmission system operator’s (TSO) manual frequency restoration reserve (mFRR) market in January 2022; this was made possible by the lowering of the minimum bid for the procurement of mFRR. This example shows how regulatory changes can speed up innovation. However, a full regulatory framework is needed to guarantee interoperability across markets by allowing distribution system operators to participate in different markets.

Frequency regulation from fleets of electric vehicles in France: RTE, France’s TSO, has certified the use of EV batteries from company fleets for V2G smart charging. The practice allows real-time balancing of supply and demand to provide frequency control services, helping to ensure smooth operation of the French (and European) electricity system.

Frequency regulation from fleets of electric vehicles in Denmark: The V2G technology company Nuvve aggregates multiple EV batteries to provide a primary frequency-controlled reserve service (FCR-N) to Energinet, the TSO in Denmark. Vehicles are connected to 10 kW bidirectional DC chargers controlled by Nuvve’s V2G GIVe platform. Nuvve’s software bids the available capacity in the batteries for use in the frequency-controlled reserve market, while also ensuring that the vehicles retain sufficient energy to operate when needed. Fleet owners can use Nuvve’s management app to set the driving needs for any given day.

Nuvve has used the system to manage the EV fleet at Frederiksberg Forsyning, a water and gas utility. The vehicles are parked at night and on weekends, allowing each to provide about 17 hours of market participation per day. Results show that each vehicle contributed about USD 2 000 in market revenue in 2017 and 2018. The revenue allows Nuvve to lower the total cost of EV ownership for its customers.

The Parker project in Denmark is using a commercial V2G hub and EVs to provide frequency regulation services. The project showed that individual cars can each supply thousands of hours of frequency services, generating annual revenue of EUR 1 860 per car.

Frequency regulation from fleets of electric vehicles in Zhejiang, China: In September 2021, State Grid aggregated multi-type adjustable load resources to provide a regional frequency modulation response test for the first time. As an important adjustable load resource, EV fleets participated in the regional frequency regulation response test with a cumulative response power of 1 452 kW. The test results show that 2 minutes after receiving the instruction, the charging power of the adjustable EV fleets in Anhui province was reduced by 452 kW. Eight minutes later, the charging power of the adjustable EV fleets in Zhejiang province was reduced by 1 000 kW. During the test, the frequency was reduced to 49.897 Hz at the lowest level. The load-side resources have re sponse time ranging from seconds to minutes.

Source: (smartEN, 2022; CHAdeMO, 2022a; Nuvve, 2020; SGCC, 2021).