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Virta Congestion Management - Balance the grid, save money and charge with renewable energy

As electric vehicle (EV) sales grow and more EVs roam our roads, energy consumption increases causing grid congestion. Grid congestion causes significant bottlenecks in utilising renewable energy and prevents electricity from reaching its destination. But smartly controlled EVs can offer a solution. 

Slowing down climate change is a global mission with critical importance. All sectors need to work together to solve it. As we all know, addressing issues in the energy and transportation industries plays a key role in mitigating climate change.There seems to be a consensus on how to tackle the challenge – electrification. 

But the more electric vehicles on the roads, the bigger the demand on the energy grid, which causes limitations. However, if we combine electric vehicles and smart charging, we get a powerful combination ready to tackle the challenge. 

At the same time, renewable electricity productionis increasing worldwide, becoming the cheapestway to produceelectricity. However, congestion in the grid may limit the use and production of renewable electricity. 

Electric vehicles are the key to grid balancing 

The electrical gridat the distribution level (for example, at a citylevel) might get congested due to increasing electrification if we don’t consider control solutions orchestrated with smart solutions. 

With growing amounts of renewables, such as solar power, issues arise: When the sun isshining but the consumption is low,excesselectricity is fed back to the grid, causing congestion. This hasled to regulations onfeeding electricity back to the grid from households in many countries. It’s simply a waste ofgreen energy. 

Enter electric vehicles. EVs are a great solution to the challenges mentioned above as the charging powercan be controlled with specific energy management tools. This makes it possible to install more charging stations without compromising the electricity grid. 

There are various energy management solutions on the market, but in this blog post, we want to highlight one specific solution: Congestion Management. 

Congestion Management to the rescue 

On charging sites where the grid has capacity constraints, installing charging stations may increase the risks of outages.The same applies to areas with a high share of renewable energy production and weak interconnections. All this can hinder EV charging and affect your service quality and customer satisfaction. Ultimately, you would have to invest into extensive renovations of your site and expensive electrical upgrades. Congestion Management can prevent that.  

Congestion Management is a cloud-based software solution optimising EV charging based on grid capacity and energy production. The charging station’s energy consumption is regulated on a scheduled basis. 

With Congestion Management, charging point operators (CPO) can schedule charging when most convenient. In other words, electric vehicles are charged always at the right time. Managing the charging power can be done based on:

  • Schedules to reduce electricity costs following time-based rates 
  • Limitations of the grid’s energy production 
  • Legislation requiring charging power to be regulated during specific periods 

Congestion Management can be combined withVirta Dynamic Load Management (among Virta’s otherenergy management solutions) that optimises consumption on a site level. 

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How does it work in practice? CPOs can design specific rules determining how much power is used during specific time periods for groups of AC stations. These rules can be manually set or automated using data from external sources, such as URLs or OSCP communications.
 

Benefits in a nutshell 

Pay less for electricity 

Congestion Management lets you regulate your charging stations’ energy consumption during peak hours when electricity prices are higher, so you cut down on your electricity costs. 

Comply with grid restrictions 

Certain network restrictions require regulating power consumption during specific times. For example, in the UK, a regulation sets off-peak charging hours between 8 AM and 11 AM and between 4 PM and 10 PM during weekdays. With Congestion Management, you can effortlessly regulate the power consumption between those hours. 

Support the use of renewable energy 

Renewable energy can be tricky as its production is volatile. By regulating your EV chargers' power consumption based on the availability of renewable energy, you help enhance its use. 

Manage energy demand 

With Congestion Management, you can say goodbye to grid congestion and the inability to provide enough charging power to the connected EVs. Schedule tailored charging events when energy production is high and tackle congestion once and for all.  

Good for the grid, good for your wallet 

We already mentioned that Congestion Management lets you cut back on electricity costs. Based on our calculations and customer feedback, you can cut up to 10% of those costs monthly. 

Getting rid of grid congestion also makes it possible to install more charging points resulting in increased revenue and no extra strain on the electricity grid. 

To show Congestion Management and its return on investment in practice, let’s take our customer Finavia, a Finnish national airport company with 20 airports nationwide. Finavia uses Congestion Management to ensure the energy system stays stable and their customers charge with the most affordable electricity. In 2023, Finavia’s return on investment in Congestion Management was 500%.  

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With Congestion Management,
you can balance the grid, save money and charge withrenewable energy. Talk to our Sales Experts to learn how to best utilise this solution for your specific charging needs. 

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