PRESS RELEASE: Ignitis, a smart energy solutions company, and Litgrid, the Lithuanian electricity transmission system operator, together with Fusebox, an Estonian start-up, have launched the first pilot project in Lithuania, which will investigate the possibilities of using a network of charging stations for electric cars to ensure the balancing, stability and safety of the electricity system.

The Ministry of Energy plans to increase the number of electric car charging stations in Lithuania to 60,000 over the next decade. In the future, the rapid growth of the charging station network and the number of electric cars will have a significant impact on the entire electricity system. However, the successful deployment of smart charging solutions for electric cars could become a key element in the energy system of the future, as a new flexibility tool for balancing the system.

During the pilot project, two Ignitis ON charging stations – 50kW and 22kW – will be connected remotely to the Fusebox virtual power plant system. At the same time, electric cars will be charged at each of these stations, and the charging power will be reduced for short periods. The test aims to see how reliably and steadily the charging power can be reduced when such a need arises on the network.

“This smart solution can help optimize charging of electric cars for both customers and the entire electricity system. In the future, two-way energy movement will enable the use of electric cars for system balancing and frequency management, while opening up the system services market to new entrants. In order to avoid additional costs later on when upgrading EV charging stations with smart charging solutions, we need to take action before the massive expansion of the EV infrastructure and assess now what type of EV charging stations will be the most suitable in the future,” says Audrius Baranauskas, innovation manager at Litgrid.

Tarvo Õng, the CEO of Fusebox: “Fusebox is making electricity grids leaner and cleaner. Our energy managing and trading platform is opened for everyone who is flexible electricity consumer or has access to flexible electricity consumers. Currently we are using HVAC systems of office buildings, retail stores, etc. to help the electricity system and reduce energy costs for the consumers.

“Using EV charging as an extra resource of flexibility to the electricity grid benefits everyone. It is a logical step to add this feature to our product portfolio as we are also working on industrial level battery projects. Fusebox offers full range of flexibility related services to its customers in EU, and we see more and more EV charging stations installed at our client’s premises that can be added to our portfolio,” adds Õng.

According to Paulus Kozlovas, Head of Innovation at Ignitis Group, as the energy sector rapidly transitions from fossil fuels to renewables, the need for network balancing is growing. Therefore, the world is increasingly talking about using EV charging infrastructure to balance the network. The successful use of an EV charging network for balancing the network would not only allow for a faster expansion of the network in the country but would also reduce the cost of running the infrastructure and reduce the tariffs of charging stations for flexible users. Depending on the results of the test, a wider use of Ignitis ON stations for network balancing could be considered in the future.

“The use of EV charging stations for network balancing has a large and untapped potential in the future of energy. This project is the first attempt in Lithuania to use EV infrastructure for network needs. It is also important because it is being implemented with the Estonian start-up Fusebox, in which Ignitis Innovation Fund first invested back in 2018. We are delighted that the technologies and services developed by this energy start-up are being used to implement the energy-smart world solutions being developed by Ignitis Group,” says Kozlovas.