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Two smart grids installed at thecamp and in the high-speed railway station will test a solution in which car batteries feed electricity into the grid and the electricity consumer also becomes a producer.

Are you familiar with V2G? In the Vehicle To Grid system, the electric car doesn’t just consume energy but can also supply the electricity stored in its unused battery to the grid. Several experiments are under way. One is in Denmark, where Nissan and electricity supplier Enel have rolled out two-way charging stations. Another is in France, where thecamp, an international campus in Aix-en-Provence, will test the innovation with the help of VINCI Energies.

“This innovation could help balance the load by providing electricity during peak consumption periods,” says Jeanne Bonnet, Project Manager at Citeos Ingénierie Méditerranée (VINCI Energies).

For the “Solar Camp” project, two smart grids were built, one within the high-speed railway station in Aix and the other within thecamp. They will supply two demonstrators designed to communicate with each other.

“An innovation that could help balance the load”

On the railway station side, the smart grid is designed to meet the objective set by Gares & Connexions (the SNCF subsidiary that operates railway stations) of supplying all station spaces with renewable energy.

At thecamp, VINCI Energies implemented and financed the comprehensive smart grid installation, comprising a solar charging station with a capacity of 7.8 kWp (the watt-peak is the unit used to measure the power of a solar panel), panels on the roof of the building, and a 7.5-kWh storage battery.

The smart grid, backed by the network (the objective being to operate with 54 % renewable energy) supplies a fleet of 15 electric bicycles, a fast charging station for cars, and an ecological building, the “pop up house”, which accommodates an innovative Keep Cool fitness centre.

This “testing ground”, which will communicate with the railway station, will be used to conduct a variety of experiments, with a special focus on electric cars. Information reported via the smart grid will track energy flows and test the V2G once the system has been completed.

“Currently,” says Jeanne Bonnet, “discussions are under way with automotive manufacturers about making cars available that can inject electricity into the smart grid. Ultimately, the user will have an app developed by a startup, Bovlabs, that will track energy flows via the blockchain. The user will park the car on the campus, enter his or her departure time and agree for the grid to partially draw power from the vehicle battery.”