How exactly can electric vehicles be the solution to overloading the grid? The new sustainable residential area Wisselspoor in Utrecht is finding out!
On 24 May, Minister Hugo de Jonge and State Secretary Vivianne Heijnen, led by alderman Eelco Eerenberg, visited an energy-balancing mobility hub in sustainable residential area Wisselspoor. In this neighbourhood, sustainable mobility, a mixed commuting area, a car-free living environment and energy transition come together. A large local solar energy system charges bi-directional electric cars with sustainable solar energy. The vehicles can feed back electricity to the grid to balance and help supply electricity to the district. Use of space for parking is also reduced by deploying 100% electric shared mobility.
The Utrecht Bidirectional Ecosystem, of which Wisselspoor is part, is a prominent SCALE Use Case to be developed and scaled up. Vehicle-to-Grid technology in Utrecht has reached a unique scale and is a driver for technological and institutional innovations that SCALE is developing. The Wisselspoor location, a sustainable housing development with shared V2G EVs as part of the proposition to the new inhabitants, offers the opportunity to integrate V2G technology, sustainable mobility and sustainable housing into one integrated concept.
A New Innovative Neighbourhood
Grid congestion, or overloading of the electricity grid, is a growing problem in the Netherlands. Due to the strong growth of electric vehicles, solar panel generation and all electric housing districts, new neighbourhoods can only be connected to the grid to a limited extent. Wisselspoor is a new district for living and working in the heart of Utrecht, built on a former Dutch Railways (NS) industrial site. The sustainable district will eventually grow to around 1,200 homes, the first 122 of which have been delivered.
In the first subarea of Wisselspoor, the results of the “City Deal electric shared mobility” are visible. In this housing development project, bi-directional electric shared cars are in use by residents, which can both charge and supply energy back (vehicle-to-grid). Wisselspoor subarea 1 was developed by Synchroon, in partnership with the municipality of Utrecht and NS Stations, Studioninedots and Delva Landscape Architecture.
“In Wisselspoor, we show that with electric shared cars you can reduce car ownership, requiring less space for parking. At the same time, we deploy these cars as a buffer for solar and wind energy. In doing so, we contribute to accelerating the transition to a 100% sustainable energy system.” – Robin Berg (We Drive Solar)
Towards a solution to grid congestion
The central car park in Wisselspoor subarea one offers a unique opportunity to investigate the role of bi-directional charging to enable all-electric districts to be connected to the electricity grid even when the grid is already experiencing congestion. The district already has a large solar energy system on the roofs of the houses and the mobility hub, where there is a bi-directional charging system for both shared cars from We Drive Solar and residents’ own cars.