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Off Grid Energy Independence
Posted on February 27, 2018

Renault and EEM create first "smart island"

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Groupe Renault, European electric vehicle leader, and EEM Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira, SA, which produces, transports and distributes and sells electricity on the two inhabited Portuguese islands of Madeira archipelago (Madeira and Porto Santo), have announced the launch of a smart electric ecosystem on the island of Porto Santo. For more details please see the IDTechEx report on energy harvesting off-grid.
 
The government of the Autonomous Region of Madeira will roll out an innovative programme in Porto Santo, known as Sustainable Porto Santo - Smart Fossil Free Island, to facilitate the energy transition. EEM, which is in charge of the programme's energy and electric mobility, has chosen Groupe Renault as its partner for electric mobility solutions.
 
This world-first smart island uses electric vehicles, second-life batteries, smart charging and V2G to boost the island's energy independence and stimulate the production of renewable energy. Groupe Renault, EEM and their partners have been working since the beginning of the year on this project, which is expected to last 18 months.
 
"We are delighted to be teaming up with EEM and Madeira Regional Government today to establish this unprecedented smart electric ecosystem which demonstrates to what extent the electric revolution is changing our everyday lives beyond just transport. Our aim is to build a model that can be carried over to other islands, eco-districts and cities, while consistently striving to achieve large-scale rollout of electric mobility solutions that are affordable for all," said Eric Feunteun, Electric Vehicles and New Business Programme Director.
 
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This project is an illustration of how Renault works in private and public sector partnerships to help create sustainable mobility solutions for all; and it is in line with Renault's strategy to become a major player in the world of electric vehicle ecosystems and a supplier of smart mobility solutions for the cities of tomorrow.
 
For the design of this ecosystem, Groupe Renault's input will focus on both its electric vehicles, which are a benchmark in Europe, and proven technological solutions.
 
The project comprises three complementary phases. First, 20 volunteer users in Porto Santo will drive 14 ZOEs and 6 Kangoo Z.E.s for their everyday use. These vehicles will be able to benefit from smart charging thanks to the 40 connected public and private charging points set up by EEM and Renault on the island.
 
Second, by the end of 2018, the vehicles will step up their interaction with the grid by providing it with electricity during peak hours. In addition to being smart charged, the electric vehicles will therefore also serve as temporary energy storage units.
 
Third, second-life batteries from Renault electric vehicles will be used to store the fluctuating supply of energy produced by Porto Santo's solar and wind farms. Stored as soon as it is produced, this energy is recovered by the grid as and when needed to meet local demand. Some of these batteries come from Madeira Island. For the first time, Groupe Renault demonstrates real life re-employing of second-life batteries in a local ecosystem.
 
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Smart charging adjusts battery charging rates as a function of users' needs and the availability of electricity via the grid. Batteries are charged when supply exceeds demand, notably during renewable energy production peaks. Charging ceases when demand for electricity outstrips supply by the grid, thereby optimising the supply of local renewable energy.
 
In the case of V2G charging, electric vehicles provide electricity to the grid during peak hours. In this way, not only do they benefit from the advantages of smart charging, but they will also serve as a means to store energy temporarily.
 
Once life as a power source for electric vehicles is over, EV batteries continue to be capable of storing a significant amount of energy. Renault is able to harness this energy in less demanding environments, notably for the purposes of stationary energy storage. By giving batteries a second lease of life, Renault is today able to cover the full spectrum of energy storage needs, from individual homes to office buildings, factories, schools and apartment blocks, and even the charging of electric vehicles.
 
Source and top image: Groupe Renault
Learn more at the next leading event on the topic: Business and Technology Insight Forum - Cambridge December 2018 External Link on 4 - 6 Dec 2018 at Cambridge, UK hosted by IDTechEx.