Transcript: Using Bidirectional Electric Vehicles to Keep the Lights On (CA Climate Policy Summit 2024)

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Kurt Johnson (00:00:26):
So I’m pleased to introduce the moderator for this, our final session of the afternoon. Zach. Zach, how do you pronounce your last name?

Zach Woogen (00:00:36):
Zach GaN with a hard G.

Kurt Johnson (00:00:39):
Hard G. Woo. Woo.

Just kidding. Zach Woogen, interim executive director with the Vehicle Grid Integration Council. I’ve had the great pleasure to work with Zach a little bit on various things over the last year and a half, something like that. And I’m really excited about this panel because it’s exactly related to one of the Climate Center sponsored bill SB 2 33, authored by Senator Skinner that would require that by no later than model year 2035, all electric vehicles, new electric vehicles sold in California be bi-directional capable. That mandate date corresponds to the date by which under existing California rules, new light duty passenger vehicles and school buses have to be electric. So Senator Skinner, bill simply says, not only do they have to be electric, they also have to be bi-directional so they can provide all the cool benefits to the grid, the consumer that you’re going to hear about shortly. So without further ado, Zach,

Zach Woogen (00:01:39):
Thank you, Kurt. Welcome everyone to what I might rename if I could. VPP Part two more acronyms. No, Kurt said no acronyms. We won’t do acronyms, but VGIV two G slew of acronyms that we’ll try to stay away from. Let me start things off by introducing myself, Zach GaN with the Vehicle Grid Integration Council, and a simple statement to launch off from, which is that EVs represent an incredible amount of untapped potentials, flexible dispatchable, distributed resources to support an affordable and just energy transition. Our lab text on the slide about VGIC, the organization that I’m representing here today, we are a member-based association working to advance the use of EV’s as a flexible grid resource. So what is VGI, again, staying away from the acronyms for a moment. And this encompasses the broad umbrella of smart charging or managed charging bi-directional charging, whether it be for providing backup power for a home business or community or sending power to the grid, supporting a number of use cases as well as other innovative use cases related to EV charging, including DER paired or solar or storage paired charging.

And why VGI? Why now? Why should we care about these use cases? The first is to accelerate electrification. So as folks are looking to make decisions about when and how to electrify, reducing the cost of ownership for the vehicles might help support that decision and drive folks to electrify sooner rather than later. And we’ve seen with managed charging or smart charging in this case study on the screen, 25 to 50% reduction in costs in Stockton as well as for bi-directional charging use case, 1500 bucks for some school buses in Southern California supporting the decarbonize and power sector. I think the VPP panel did an excellent job covering the use case of mitigating the need for peakers and in particular, old polluting dirty peaker plants in communities that are, I think deserving of clean air and V two G can support that. And there’s analysis I’m happy to share with folks afterward that supports that use case as well.

And then increasing affordability, this is critical. We’ve heard all day in California the affordability crisis facing Californians, and there’s the fundamental rate equation or calculation on the numerator side. There’s an opportunity here to reduce the infrastructure needed to support the oncoming wave of EV deployments. And on the denominator, an opportunity to actually increase kilowatt hour sales that are off peak in particular so that we can spread out those costs that do have to be incurred across more kilowatt hour and drive down the actual rates themselves. And lastly, improving community resiliency. A lot of texts on the slide, but just want to highlight the use cases, not just for bi-directional charging to support resiliency, but also some managed charging opportunities to ensure that as we transition to electricity as a fuel, folks are not left stranded during public safety power shutoffs or in high wildfire threat districts.

Kurt wanted me to cover some programs and advancements in California. A lot of texts on the slide here. All that’s to say California is pushing on a lot of fronts right now and really leading the way. There are rates, there are programs, there are incentives, there are rules and regulations all looking to advance the use of EVs as strategic grade resources. And one in particular that we’re excited about, I think Raav mentioned on the last presentation was the demand side grid support program and the CEC. So looking forward to the cec, hopefully adopting those revised guidelines next month or in May. So with that, we’ll hand it over actually to Sam first to, so we can all learn a little bit more about Calusa and their great work in the space. Do you have a mic over there? Yeah. Perfect.

John Sarter (00:06:01):
Good afternoon everyone. Thank you very much for staying until this last session. My name is Sam and thank you climate Center for putting this ana, fantastic climate policy summit together. So I’m very happy to be here. Well, I, I’ll tell you a little bit more about calusa. I’ll tell you about our managed charging program, about our V two X or V two G program back in uk. And then I’ll tell you about what we are planning to do in California and how we’re planning to bring some lessons learned from across the globe. So calusa is a global award-winning software company that is working on different markets including uk, eu, Australia, and New Zealand. We have around 500 people all over the globe. And yeah, we’re trying to bring now the experience we’ve learned across the globe to the us What is important to say probably is think about us as a company that is talking to your car or to your charger and telling them when to stop, start or pause charging, eventually telling them when to discharge energy back to the grade two.

So we were kind of like the voice behind controlling that devices. Yeah, we can go to the next slide, which I have here now like this. Fantastic. So yeah, this is our managed charging program in uk. It’s called Charge Anytime the slide is busy because I’ve heard there are some data nerds here in the audience, but what you really need to know is that the key to unlock the benefits of this was a fantastic, so-called type of use tariff, not time of use, but type of use specifically designed only for the EV metered separately from the household consumption through telematics.

If I’m not wrong, in the US currently you have an EV rate, which you can roll into, but the whole household is going to switch into that EV rate, which is not ideal. So the better way is to separate these two because of course, think about this common sense that the plans that you find in your household a different type of behavior than your ev. So why should all the whole house switch into EV rate? Doesn’t make sense. So separating them and yeah, just setting that tariff in a way that would attract people was the key. So pull in effect, not push in effect. What happened from January, 2023? We had two customers by the end of the year, 16,000 customers that voluntarily enrolled in a program. And if folks are thinking about going from pilot to scaling up, this is a fantastic example and I think there were some savings around $620 on average, which is I guess beautiful and 21 megawatts of load shifted, which is not bad at all for simple managed charging program.

Okay, now let me show you a little bit more about our V two X program. So actually we did that in UK because we could, so we were literally exporting energy from the EVs back to the grid. It was a pilot with 330 connected vehicles at that time. Those were Nissan leaves. This program is still running in different way. It’s opened up now and it’s not only for Nissan leaves but for cars of Volkswagen Group plus steel hunters are participating as well, which is pretty cool. We still have around 300 connected vehicles, but at that time we had 330 total. Now it’s us having 300. The charger that we were cooperating with. Now we split ways. They have another 200 folks. So actually the total number is increasing. It’s not only 330, but again, you can see, yeah, I got a lot of numbers there, but I guess the one that I really like is 93% of customer satisfaction.

93% of our customers were satisfied with this, which is very cool. And yeah, it’s great. And actually we had four or five customers that were charging and charging bank almost ideally. And so what happened, they actually made some 10 bucks at the end of the month from the utility, so they were in surplus. It’s fantastic. And actually this is also what I wanted to tell you, that if you’re worried that you’re going to lose control of your car or whatever, when controlling programs like this, it’s not true because you have the right of overriding whatever command we put. So you do have an ultimate control. This was happening in our programs pretty often, especially at the very beginning because folks were not used to it and they didn’t trust us like, okay, what if I’m not going to have, what if I’m not having a car ready at 7:00 AM by 80%?

So they were like, yeah, let’s charge at 8:00 PM and we were sending them just a very simple text message that, hey, you really do not need to charge right now. It’s fine. You can wait no harm to your car and everything’s going to be all right over time. This overriding just dropped significantly. So yeah, this is what we have done in uk and yes, this is what we’re planning to bring to California. So thanks to California Energy Commission, we received a grant. We were one of the 10, I believe companies or project supported together with Bel. But yeah, you’ll tell more about that. But what we essentially plan to do is to deploy 330 deployments across California, 300 simple V one G, which is simple managed charging, 30 bidirectional will. When it comes to bi-directional, we will cover 80 to 85% costs of bi-directional charger as well as installation for these customers, which is a, I believe, significant help.

Half of those total deployments will be in DAC or low income communities. And I’m personally especially so passionate about this and so happy that we could bring managed charging to those folks who are riding the most. Actually, they do not have the luxury as I do like working from home. They need to drive every single day wherever they go. And so for them, we will install level two chargers at no cost and purchase them as well. So it’s going to be great. Hopefully. One more thing that it’s worth to note is that we are going to test the dynamic pricing. It’s very important for California. I think it was mentioned in the last panel. This is key to unlock the benefits for the customer, for the grid, for utilities, for service providers like us. We’ve done that in Australia and uk. It works. It’s no problem. And actually, yes, it could be even metered through telematics. It works. It’s reliable. It’s all right. So yeah, there’s no need to wait under 10 years to simply test and wait for it. And yeah, I believe this is, yeah, that’s everything for me at this moment. And yeah, I’ll hand in back to you, Zach.

Zach Woogen (00:14:02):
Great, thanks Sam. And next we will go to Rachel from Newbie. Just going to flip back to this slide.

Rachel Zook (00:14:14):
Good afternoon. My name is Rachel Zuck and I am the senior program manager of utility partnerships at Newbie. We’re a vehicle to grid focused software company. Our global headquarters are in San Diego. We do also have offices in Newark, Delaware, as well as London, Copenhagen, and Tokyo. We’re operational in five continents. But given what this conference is about, I’d like to focus on our work in the United States and specifically California. This map shows where in the United States we have stations deployed, period. That’s the medium greed where we’re actively doing V two G work. That’s the dark green. So you’ll see that we do have V two G deployments. I was told not to use too many acronyms, vehicle to grid deployments in many different states covering the coast, A lot of people think of vehicle to grid or vehicle to everything. Technology as being really new vehicle to grid was actually patented in 1996 at the University of Delaware by Dr.

Willett Kempton. He’s one of the founders of Newbie. So there’s 25 more than 25 years of research and development behind this technology. Looking at California specifically, newbie is working with over 100 school districts. The reason that we work with so many school districts is that an electric school bus is a really ideal use case for vehicle to grid technology. They have huge batteries, they have very predictable routes. And during the summer months when the grid is very strained, they’re usually just sitting in their parking lots. It’s actually better for the electric school bus batteries to be occasionally cycling and discharging during the summer than it is for them to just sit idle for those months across the US we’ve installed hundreds of charging stations. We have hundreds more that have been delivered but not yet installed. I think most people here are familiar with really long utility timelines for getting things like this done. And I know that Denmark is not in the US or in California, but I do want to point out that we have seven plus years of continuous vehicle to grid operations in Denmark, meaning it is the same fleet and we’ve been providing grid services to Danish energy markets for seven plus years without any stops, not for weekends, not for holidays. So the technology is far from new. It’s here and it’s ready to go.

Zach Woogen (00:16:39):
Great. Thanks Rachel. And next we’ll go to John. Yep. Boom.

John Sarter (00:16:50):

Hello, I’m John sar. I work with Decibel. We are a company that is probably half software, half hardware, and our mission is to deliver energy so you can live a life without compromise. So what our technology is is a solar inverter combined with a two port vehicle charger, and one of those ports is bidirectional. So you’ve got one port that’s level two AC from the grid, and the other one is DC from your solar directly into your vehicle battery, bypassing the onboard inverter of the vehicle and therefore reducing losses by inversion. And then that same DC charger is able to export power from the battery of the car to power your home or to export to the grid within market context. What we have right now is about 2 billion worth of fuel pumped into US passenger cars every single day. And in the next, by 2030, we expect there’ll be about 40 million new additional residential solar systems installed.

And it’s really important that energy storage scales along with distributed solar in order to store that excess solar. Like you can see the NM rates being cut back here in the US or in California recently. The current home energy landscape is basically a state of the art patchwork of limited, inefficient, expensive and orphan industrial devices with very little intelligence. So we aim to solve that by creating the decibel home energy ecosystem. And so what we do is we incorporate solar from your panels, and we’re panel agnostic, as I said, directly DC charging your vehicle and powering your home simultaneously because we’re an inverter as well. So we charge the vehicle, we export from the vehicle to the home to power the home. Again, as I said. And our orchestrate software platform manages all of your home energy optimizing based on your habits and your parameters that you set. And then our chorus software platform interoperates with the grid. So we’re CIP certified. I don’t know what that acronym stands for, but we’re certified for grid interoperability in any case. So we’re able to communicate and export to the grid.

And this creates a seamless ownership of clean, reliable and cost-effective energy for you and your home, and also a way to monetize your vehicle as it sits there through virtual power plants. The decibel ecosystem enables the first residential energy marketplace as a system connecting the assets of the OEMs and aggregators directly to households. So what we’re not is aggregators, so we rely on people like Sam and Rachel to do that. Workforce. I’m going to skip over this next slide. Just a lot of, but this gives a bit of, well go ahead. I just have to squint because I forgot my reading glasses. So it’ll forecast when you should use sell or store energy and it personalizes your energy experience either by automation because it works on machine learning or you can program it to your own parameters. It’ll charge two cars at once, actually one from the grid and one from your solar. And then you can use that energy of course to power your home during blackouts and export to the grid for monetization. It’s also controllable through a mobile app, so you can control all the functionalities through your phone as well as the device itself. And that’s it for me. So let’s get onto the

Zach Woogen (00:20:48):
Panel. Great. Now that we have, I think all the background out there, and by the way, that’s California smart and birder profile, cip, so we can file that under acronyms. We definitely don’t need to know. It’s a little wonky, but I think Sam, you did a good job covering sort of some of the monetary values from the deployments that you’ve had, especially over in the uk. And I just wanted to, I guess, revisit that question of value. That’s one that comes up a lot is what’s the value of this? Why are we doing this? Why are we in this space? Why do we work in this space? I dunno if anyone wants to speak to that. Maybe just to kick things off and talk about motive and motivation here.

Samuel Goda (00:21:33):
Yeah, I can start. It’s so clear that there are benefits for everyone. If we’re speaking from a customer perspective, it’s saving tremendous money through managed charging even more through bi-directional, which is exporting back to the grid, like vehicle to grid resilience. Actually, there was one interesting point. So at the very beginning in the uk, we had, again, very low tariff for bi-directional, when you are exporting back to the grid, very high tariff when you were exporting back to the grid. But of course because they were testing and ovo, the energy retailer was losing money, they had to decrease this tariff. But what happened is that customers reacted in perfect way. Instead of sending energy back to the grid, they were using it to optimize their own electricity. So they were exporting the electricity to the house, which is fantastic. And again, saving money. So folks were not full at all.

And so again, there are clear benefits not speaking about the grid and distribution level and avoided distribution costs. During the last panel, I think it was Lorenzo who mentioned the host capacity of circuits, I believe. I’m not sure if he’s still here. But anyway, that’s another fantastic value. And again, for simply the climate, clean air, this is what we need, although it’s not, I wouldn’t say that managed charging or V two X is helping with upfront cost of the ev, no, but it’s helping with ownership of the EV itself throughout the time. So to be frank with you, okay, yeah.

Zach Woogen (00:23:34):
Maybe just to summarize part of that, what I heard is kind of this idea of a multiplier, especially on the emissions front, right? You have EVs are coming and that fuel transition is great for emissions and for local pollutes. And then to the extent that that total cost of ownership is lowered through these smarter use cases, we can make it come faster and then we can also be helping to support the decarbonization of the grid, right? Less peaker usage, more renewables integration. So that’s just that Rachel. Good,

Rachel Zook (00:24:02):
That was a great summary. Just to add a little bit more to the grid specific benefits. So power outages impact disproportionately impact lower income communities like so many other climate, environmental, environmental related issues. So even for households, overall, communities that aren’t big adopters of EVs, having this be part of the general ecosystem does still support those communities because it builds a more resilient grid. This also allows energy markets to be more accessible to consumers. Frequently consumers are locked out of accessing that kind of value. Allowing vehicle to grid technology and having aggregator support both residential and business customers unlocks a whole other layer of value beyond the utility.

John Sarter (00:25:03):
It’s tough going through because I was going to say everything they said, but what I want to add to that is I think California’s projected now to have something around 15 million EVs by 2035. So they’re either going to be a massive strain or a massive asset to the grid that many EVs, if we had to build the grid infrastructure to charge them, would be just huge cost to everyone. And everybody’s bill would go through the roof. So by making them all bi-directional, hopefully all of them bi-directional by 2035, you flip that equation completely around, instead of being a strain, they’re a tremendous asset to the grid. We can store all the renewable energy we need in EVs and then support the grid with it really tremendously decarbonizing the grid and yeah,

Zach Woogen (00:25:52):
And it sounds like there’s a community benefits aspect to it, to it, right? We have EVs in communities and folks want to see benefits on their side of the fence, and I think this is another way to expand the benefits. So Sam, you mentioned again some of your projects in the UK from Kbit, Rachel and John, if there are any learnings from the projects that y’all have had, and Sam, if you want to add more too, I know there’s been, you mentioned Denmark, but there’s been some opportunities in Southern California as well. I dunno if you want to speak to those and maybe John, any of the exciting opportunities in California, y’all are maybe first starting to get up and running, but would we good to hear about what lessons have we learned, what findings have been expected, what findings are maybe more unexpected that we might want to learn from as we continue to push forward on these topics?

Rachel Zook (00:26:43):
Yeah, thank you Zach. So I’ll talk a little bit about the emergency load reduction program, which is a really great program in California demand response, but also allows a vehicle to grid resources. When this was first developed, vehicle to grid was not allowed. It just wasn’t part of it. Newbie made a lot of noise and in 2022, I believe was the first year that vehicle grid integration aggregators were allowed into the program. So newbie participated in ELRP emergency load reduction program in that new VGI aggregator subgroup in 2022 and 2023. I have not been given permission to release the actual numbers, but we had over a 36% increase from 2022 to 2023. It’s really exciting. That said, we are still the only group in the entire state that’s utilizing the subgroup, which I think shows how much further we need to go. It’s really exciting what we’ve been able to do, but I know that collectively we’re capable of a lot more.

John Sarter (00:27:56):
Sure. Yeah. So adding to that potential capacity number right now, California has I think 1.4 million EVs. Is that about right? Higher 1.8. Okay. So 1.8 million EVs, if they had a 60 kilowatt hour battery, that capacity is 20 times the largest grid scale energy storage project in the world today. And so if everybody just use a portion of that of their vehicle, you can really completely flatten the duck curve over time. So if 1.8 million will do that, just think of what 14 millions will do. Yeah, maybe I will take it from a different angle. So what really worked in our programs were engaged customers, utilities, who really care about a customer, all effects, which means give the customer an attractive thing, they will react to it and everyone’s going to be happy. Utility’s got to be selling more electricity. So it’s a win-win for everyone. Again, dynamic pricing works, telematics works. Telematics means when you are controlling the car basically through a think about the same card, then it’s inside car. So you can control everything through it.

There’s one more thing, and hopefully I know that we’re in California, I know that we’re thinking about California as a leader in climate policy and in energy, but I just wanted to share with you an experience that we got from Australia. So we are working with the biggest utility there, and it took us two weeks to design a tariff, three weeks to test the tariff, three weeks to release the tariff. So this is the difference. So this kind really need of urgency that we need to move faster here in US here in California, we just have to, do you want to expand on that? Yeah, so I also do want to share that as Sam mentioned, we were also a recipient to the Redwoods grant. I think we were the largest share recipient of the largest CEC grant ever. So we have a lot of money to bring our technology into 50% low income communities, and we’re actively seeking out those communities and partnerships to make that happen.

Zach Woogen (00:30:41):
Very exciting. And Sam can’t agree more. We need to move faster, be flexible. Rachel, you mentioned these assets were not originally welcomed into the emergency load reduction program, that emergency demand response program. There needs to be room to maybe be flexible and experiment here, given that this is going to be new for a lot of folks. And actually with that in mind, as you’re all designing your products, your hardware, your aggregation products or your partnerships with utilities, how do you ensure that the perspectives of customers and communities are taken into account? I think one question that we get from time to time is like, Hey, that’s someone’s vehicle, that’s their transportation. How are you going to get everyone to be excited about tapping into that and maybe they don’t trust their utility so much. We heard maybe a little bit of utility distrust throughout the day. A lot of it fair. And I think, yeah, it just begs the question, how do we make sure that first and foremost, it’s a customer owned resource, whether it be a fleet or a school district transit agency or a passenger ev. How do we make sure that’s accounted for in the work that you all do and the products and services you’re developing?

Samuel Goda (00:31:56):
Maybe I can start, we invest a lot of time and a lot of resources into learn who our customer is. And actually here in the US I’d say again, it shouldn’t be our job to do that, but utility’s job to do that, utilities should know who their customers are. It’s not one customer. It’s a different segment of customers. And so we’re trying to learn their habits, how they’re thinking about charging or how they’re thinking if they have a car already, how they’re thinking about charging. Okay, what are their habits? If they’re thinking about purchasing a car like ev, why is that? What did they expect? So a lot of time and money invested into user research, user experience research. John, you mentioned low-income, DAC communities. It’s way different world. It’s not only about how they’re going to respond when being enrolled in our program, but actually how to get them enrolled in our program.

Myself, I am a very proud Spanish speaker, and so we have to understand that many of those folks are not using emails. That’s the usual way. How the utilities communicating with them. They don’t use it text messages, they’re reluctant. Like I’m getting another message. I have no time. Just simply, it’s different again, habits than we think are on daily basis, and those are the folks that need managed charging or V two X the most, I believe. I’m convinced that really those are the folks who can benefit from it the most over time. So getting them on board and making sure that they are being enrolled when they own, usually used EV to make sure that they are also not left behind, but being enrolled in our programs. And again, it’s very different way of how to enroll in them and how to approaching them. But again, know your customer, invest a lot of time to that and try to understand.

Yeah, so I think one thing that’s going to be really important is the proper incentives from the utilities. Obviously they have to make it worth people’s while to potentially tax their batteries and lead them with a little bit less range. So money is what’s really going to drive it and it’s a tough thing for the IUs. It’s a bit in conflict with their traditional business model. So I think it’s super important for somebody to be working on new business models for the IUs that can take some of that pie because they’re losing a lot on their generation and transmission assets that gain them 10%. So that’s important.

Zach Woogen (00:34:51):
Well, great. Yeah, here to that, I think we’ve again heard a lot about utility business model reform. I want to actually shout out Pacific Gas and Electric, which is, I don’t know if that’s been said today, probably not. They do really, I think they’re invested in this and they immigr great partners to you all and a lot of our other members. And so it’s a unique, I never thought I would say that, but they really are great in this space and they are investigating those compensation mechanisms. And so I think maybe that leads into it. We talked about redwoods, we talked about another program in California. I was wondering if you all could share a little bit more about the near term outlook as you look to the next 1, 2, 3, 5 years of customer participation, of technology development, of project deployment in California and perhaps beyond. What do you consider to be the outlook for unlocking these use cases for customers? I

Rachel Zook (00:36:05):
Sure. I can get us started on that. A lot of good things, a lot of bad things. I think that overall the market is moving in a good direction, but I do see so many obstacles and as far as we’ve come, utilities have been the subject all day. We know what the issues are. We know it doesn’t have to be this way. We see how it works in other countries. This isn’t going away anytime soon. And think of things that aren’t so utility focused. We get asked a lot about AC V two G, why is the focus on DC stations? The reason that we don’t have AC V two G deployments is because the AC V two G standard has not yet been completed. That’s UL 1741 SC not completed until that’s done. We can only do these deployments in test type environments. I think that that is a big blocker for us. Not everybody wants a fast charger. Plenty of people are good with AC chargers that’s sufficient for their needs and bi-directional capabilities that the AC chargers are very important and will be utilized as soon as that standard is ready to go.

Zach Woogen (00:37:20):
Sorry, just to quickly recap, Sam, while you grab the mic, right. So you can do bi-directional charging through lower power alternating current chargers. Folks that might have that in their garage or in apartment buildings or higher powered DC fast chargers, what folks might think of as the gas station model of charging or in other high powered charging applications. And as Rachel was alluding to for one of those use cases that the higher powered use case, the technology and the standards in particular is for along and for the other not so far. So it sounds like in the near term outlook, maybe some more flexibility and willingness to work in the area that’s less developed on the standards front, recognizing how many benefits there are to doing that. Sorry, just a little won wonkiness tech break to cover the concept. Sam, go ahead.

John Sarter (00:38:10):
Cheers. Yeah, I mean I’m excited and worried at the same time. Excited because I totally agree that yeah, I mean the technology is out here. I mean not a CB two G, but all the rest is here. It’s kind like you have the charger outside charging that car and discharging back to the fridge. So it’s here, we do have all the data that it’s working. So I’m excited about that and so many smart people and just passionate people being in this field and space and just trying to move this further. But at the same time I’m worried that simply it’s not, I’m going to repeat myself. It’s not enough. It’s not fast enough. So what I’m thinking is that instead of testing and piloting every single time, just simply go to programming to more long-term vision, to incentivizing not only value stacking, so incentivizing both the business, the customer, every, because otherwise what going to happen? I mean those EVs are here, they’re going to come no matter what. So the question is are we going to help the grid? If not, that means that utilities going to spend much more money in building that infrastructure are rates are going to be higher. And why? Because we’re just waiting and not going fast enough. But I hope I’m wrong.

So for decibel, we’re not entirely reliant on VPPs for revenue. And what I see happening in our marketplace is that if the utilities don’t really start to develop programs to take advantage of this technology, people are going to do it on their own. Our technology is very cost effective. If you’re going to put a solar inverter on your house anyway, ours is the same cost and it gives you bidirectional functionality and people are going to just start to say, you know what the way rates are, I’m going to generate my own power and I’m going to use it myself, and I don’t really need a grid connection. So that’s why I think it’s really super important. We need the grid and it should be part of the program and there should be virtual power plants that take advantage of this technology. But you’re right, Sam, it needs to happen faster or you will start seeing grid infections I think. And either way, we’ll do pretty well with it. I think that either

Zach Woogen (00:40:41):
And folks will do well, right? I think that’s what we refer to a certain extent as the democratization of energy, right? Folks being able to meet their needs. Well, great. One last question before we head to audience q and a, because this is the last panel. We want to make sure it’s really engaged, active, and I think at the end of the day, folks hopefully shed some of the formality and we can be really candid and have good questions. But before we get to that, I want to maybe know what you all need from the audience. What as solution providers working in this space, whether it’s for light duty and passenger EVs for V one G or V two G or school buses and medium and heavy duty use cases, what do you need from folks? What do you need from each other? What do you need from utilities? What do you need from regulators and policy makers? And what do you need from folks in the audience who are looking to support this industry and support the use of all these new EVs to support the grid?

Samuel Goda (00:41:43):
But maybe from you, just one kind request, please share the word. It’s kind of like tell everyone is owning navy, which you heard here, and basically things work. Okay. And if the utilities are failing to reach out to customers with their own proposition for managed charging, try to, I’m sorry to say this, I really shouldn’t, but try to google it yourselves. Let’s be proactive. Okay? If utilities are just failing to do that and are not meaning us halfway, just let’s do it ourselves. And yeah, so be more proactive and I’m talking to myself as well, so let’s be more proactive and share the words other folks that yeah, they do not have to be worried about this or concerned it’s working. Yeah,

Rachel Zook (00:42:47):
I don’t know if any of you work for a utility. I feel like at this point you’re not going to raise your hand. I think that we have a lot to say if you are with the utility, even if you’re not, I know that a lot of people in this room influence those decisions, work with the PUCs, the CEC one really important thing is accurately assessing the value of vehicle to grid technology. Thank you. The way that I’ve seen it done, and this has impacted so many other companies, utilities act like they are doing you a favor by giving you any kind of compensation for the energy that you are selling them at a far cheaper price than they would go to get it in the wholesale market.

I think we’re all rate payers. A couple of you might be totally energy independent, I don’t know, but we’re all smarter than that. The customers are smarter than that. I recently submitted, I need to not be too specific here. I submitted to an RFI that was requesting just general feedback on program design. And this is for a pretty technical demand response type program. One of their suggested methods of compensation was gift cards. Do not accept a gift card from your utility, hundreds, potentially thousands of dollars in value. Don’t take a $50 Costco gift card. I don’t know exactly what they’re planning on giving, but I know that it is. If they’re saying a gift card, it’s not going to be the actual value of what you were sending to them.

Zach Woogen (00:44:30):
Dynamic gift cards that change with the hourly pricing of wholesale electricity. Sorry, John, go ahead.

John Sarter (00:44:37):
So what I would ask of the public is a call your senator and tell ’em you support SB 2 33. That will require that all EVs are bidirectional by the ridiculous state of 2035, because that’ll be so far behind the actual technical curve, but at least that sends a signal and starts to the market in the right direction. So that’s super important. The other thing is when you go and shop for an ev, ask them, is it bi-directional? And if they say no, say, why not? And say, well, I think I’m going to keep looking. And we need to pressure the manufacturers, the utilities for the right tariffs, and as I said, our senators and our legislators to make the right decisions and the right policies.

Zach Woogen (00:45:21):
To summarize, I heard from Sam some need for really solid education outreach and maybe resources that folks can access through Google. We’re proud to put out some of them and hopefully we’ll put out more in other groups. Clin, Avery’s over there and many others do great work on this front. And then I heard really value and making sure that the value is properly assessed and understood, and in addition to being recognized, actually compensated actually reach reaches a customer. And then John, I heard making sure that customers can really apply pressure. This is something that they want and they demand from solution providers, from their utility, from their policymakers as well. And then I’ll add one and answer my question, which is not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. We’re not necessarily at a place yet where we have the 15 million EVs. We have fewer.

We’re not at a place where every vehicle works with every charger, and yet you are all working on and have been working on real world projects and deployments that are leading to real world value for real customers. So ensuring that we can celebrate our wins and our successes even though we’re not yet at a place where all 15 million EVs and all drivers are participating in this way. With that, why don’t you open it up for q and a. Is there a mic runner? Cool, thanks. Saw Ali’s hand go up and then we’ll maybe work out. Roy down the room.

Speaker 5 (00:46:49):
Hi everybody. Thanks for a really good dialogue on V two G. I feel like I learned a lot. I was just wondering if you guys could talk a little bit about the multifamily sector to the extent that it wasn’t brought up earlier, and where you guys see opportunities to either pilot V two G or help to take a lot of these technologies you’re talking about in the bidirectionality and how that might be applicable in multifamily and maybe just as an idea that could be a good place to look at doing some pilots or seeking grant funding or other monetization opportunities.

John Sarter (00:47:24):
So it is difficult with multifamily because they’re often not dedicated parking spaces, but one model I could see working is like a shared EV fleet amongst the building with dedicated spaces that are bidirectional and everybody could reserve them and use them and bring ’em back and they could participate with that bidirectionality and on grid support. And by the way, it doesn’t have to be grid support, it can be microgrid support as well. So there’s no reason you couldn’t develop a microgrid with a very robust microgrid with EVs and bidirectionality. So that’s one model and that’s something I’ve looked at. My background is in real estate development and I was looking at a project just like that, doing something like that in Richmond on a project that didn’t quite make it through, but maybe will someday.

Zach Woogen (00:48:14):
I’ll just quickly add, there’s also, not to get too wonky, but there’s a lot of smarts embedded in the vehicles in the chargers that can help to assign value and even that microgrid configuration or exports accurately assess and compensate folks for their contributions even when there is a shared parking space or something like that. So we can innovate through that. I’d say go ahead.

Speaker 6 (00:48:43):
Hey, good afternoon everybody. Thank you very much. Pete Marsh, citizens of Climate Lobby feels to me like the elephant in the room here is the same elephant in the room for a number of other distributed energy resource problems. The utility, the investor owned utilities incentives are guaranteed return on CapEx and therefore their shareholders only benefit when they build stuff, not when we have resources that reduce their need to build stuff. Until we change that incentive, which is misplaced, it’s a hundred years old, we are going to continue fighting battles about this, about net metering, about income, graduated fixed charges or fixed charges without income graduation. And yet it’s a huge challenge because of the money that gets spent by utilities on lobbying and the capture. How can we attack that?

Kurt Johnson (00:49:45):
You can support SB 9 38 authored by Senator Min, which is currently pending in the legislation information on the climate center website.

John Sarter (00:50:00):
Absolutely agree. And I think someone already mentioned here today, performance-based rate making might be one of the solutions. That’s what I see. But I totally agree. So far everything what we do aggregational are part of operational costs for the utility. Those are compensated one by one, so utilities are not making any money on that, so they’re not incentivized to do anything about it. But if we move that from oex, not to CapEx, but I’d say again to performance-based rate making, that would be definitely better. Yeah. Alright, let’s just keep going around the room. Let’s gentlemen,

Speaker 7 (00:50:45):
Just a little history. I co-chaired the V to G conference in San Francisco in 1999, and I’m just wondering, we showed how we could eliminate peaker power plants and we showed two dozen EV ones in a parking lot that could power the office in a power outage. We showed all the advantages and is it just the utilities that are stopping this? I mean even SUD is a public utility. You’d think that they wouldn’t be beholden to shareholders, so why wouldn’t they adopt it? I’m just trying to figure out why it’s taking so long.

Rachel Zook (00:51:35):
That’s a great question. I think with so many other things, follow the money aside from the utilities, it is the old standard automobile groups. This requires a lot of r and d on their end. It needs to be done. They absolutely should be doing it, but they’ve been very resistant. Oil and gas lobby. Can’t forget about our friends there. That’s a heavy push against things like this. And it may just seem like a handful of groups and really I do think it is just a handful of groups, but the money that they have, what they’re able to control is so significant. And ultimately we’re the ones that are losing here, not just at what we’re paying, but the environmental costs as well.

John Sarter (00:52:31):
Yeah, as Rachel said, even the OEMs, even the manufacturers themselves are kind of against this technology and especially about offering it on all their vehicles, which is really not a heavy lift. It’s a software and a diode change really on an electric vehicle. And that’s about it. And the other thing that’s really important that I haven’t mentioned is interoperability. A lot of EV manufacturers, not to slight them or anything, but they’re developing proprietary systems that only work with their highest end vehicles. This is something that should be interoperable across the board and available in all EVs. There’s no reason it can’t be, and that’s something that they want to sell their most expensive vehicles, obviously that’s why they do it. But I think that might take legislation beyond SD 33 in order to enforce interoperability, which is, that’s the key. I mean if we’ve got a bunch of, as I said, separate that will function independently but not together, it’s not going to work as well as a fully interoperable system.

Zach Woogen (00:53:32):
Just quickly, I think there’s a perception, especially from a lot of policymakers, EVs are really hard already. How are we going to do any of this? People don’t speak. People speak miles per gallon, not kilowatt hours. Just like this is all hard enough. Let’s just figure that out. And then later we’ll talk about dynamic charging and bi-directional charging and that’s so backward, right? Let’s deploy all the infrastructure and then figure out how to optimize. No, no, no. We need to flip that onset. So agree with your statement that what’s in the way, and I think a lot of it is just understanding perception and we need to share knowledge at events like this and others. Sorry, I keep answering questions from the audience as a moderator. Let’s go over there if we can or Kurt.

Speaker 8 (00:54:18):
Hi, Linda Hutchins Knowles with the EV Charging for all coalition. I want to pick up what Allie asked about multifamily housing just today and yesterday, the Green Code Advisory Committee are reviewing the proposed Cal Green standards for new construction, and I’m really happy to say that it’s looking like starting January 1st, 2026, every single newly built apartment or condo in the state with parking will have EV ready charging. So this is really important because without that, you really can’t benefit from bi-directional charging. So apartment and condo residents don’t have the capacity right now, but what’s the problem is that it only works. As someone pointed out, you’ve dedicated parking and if it’s wired from the receptacle to your meter. And so we were able to convince the state to say if you have assigned parking, it has to be directly wired. But the problem is what I’ve seen in my own city of San Jose is they’re going to unbundled parking, which has environmental benefits, but the problem is with unbundled parking, San Jose is giving them exemption.

They don’t have to do the direct wiring. So what I’m wondering if is a way that you guys in your roles could help to support a coalition in terms of encouraging the state and cities to say you have to make sure every resident can have the bidirectional benefits, not just single family homeowners, right? It’s a real equity issue and we’re going to leave folks out in the cold now that they’re getting all the incentives to lower the cost to buy EVs. They’re getting EV charging in the apartments or condos, but if they’re on the common meter, they can’t send that electricity back to their own fridge or apartments. So do you have thoughts about that and there ways that you could support?

John Sarter (00:55:57):
I definitely support that and I’ll up the Andy actually, it takes more than a one-way wire to create bi-directional charging. So you need an additional wire going back the other way, at least one. I mean you can go back through the same wire, but as you said, it’s going to the same source. I’ve developed a document with partners EPRI and some others for bidirectional charging that would accommodate our technology and others as well. And I’ve been trying to help get it into code, so I’ll be happy to reach out to you and share what I have. My company is focusing only on single family houses, but I totally agree with you. Multi-dwelling units is so, so important. But I just wanted to say this. Let’s talk because I know at least one company that is trying to work in that field, they’re really good. Great. So I can give it to one time

Zach Woogen (00:56:49):
Aim up switch energy is who you’re thinking of. Switch is great. Maybe in the back. Avery,

Rachel Zook (00:56:58):
What is a myth about V to X that you have Dispelled

Zach Woogen (00:57:05):
MythBuster series. Let’s do it. What about your vehicle battery, John? Yeah.

John Sarter (00:57:13):
Okay. So vehicle battery degradation. It’s actually better for a battery to be cycled lightly often than it is to sit. And when you use an EV battery to power your house, it’s way less energy output than when you step on the accelerator. So if you do that charging between 20 and 80% charge and discharge, it’s not degradation for them. And actually there’s been studies that show that it can actually be good for the EV battery. The other myth is that it’s really hard for the EV’s makers to do this and it’s not. As I said, it’s a software and diode change and you can pretty much make any EV bidirectional.

Rachel Zook (00:57:53):
Yeah, I want to walk back my former R and DOEM comment. I have heard that it’s really not that difficult to do it, so thank you for that. I think a major myth is that somehow engaging in B two X is going to make the overall charging experience worse and more difficult. Newbie actively does V two G with school districts. If this was not working, if school buses were not running properly, if kids weren’t getting where they needed to go, you would’ve heard about it by now.

Speaker 9 (00:58:28):
Zach, I just want to challenge you to have a conference all about V two G. Get everybody excited, not just us.

Zach Woogen (00:58:35):
Yeah, absolutely. We have a few. Kurt will be at the next one in San Diego, and then we’ll have one in Berkeley, California this fall. Sam, go ahead with the last,

John Sarter (00:58:45):
Yeah, just absolutely agree with this. Maybe one more from the utility perspective. V two X is not a reliable source of capacity falls on aggregate level, no problem at all. Dispatchable, it reacts it simply response. So no problem. If you’re talking about one car, of course that’s different. But aggregate level, no problem at all

Zach Woogen (00:59:09):
When you need it. And no customer would ever possibly want to export power, which is why you all have no customers. Right. Well great. Thank you all for the great q and a. One last just rapid fire question that I always love to hear answers to. So it’s March 19th, 2034, and you open the sac be, what’s the headline? Is it V two X saves the day? Is it EVs crash the grid? Is it all the cars caught on fire? I want to put that on in the world, but what’s the headline that we open in 10 years from now on this?

Rachel Zook (00:59:44):
For the first time ever, Elon Musk admits he was wrong and it was about bi-directional charging.

John Sarter (00:59:53):
Fantastic. I think a lot of that depends on how policy goes really. And my ideal headline is yes, V two X has flattened the grid. We’re running on 95% carbon free electricity throughout the grid in California and nationally catching up and globally as well. I mean, we intend to expand globally, and I think if we had to do it all over again, this is how we develop our energy systems. Something along the lines like 90% of San Joaquin Valley residents are enjoying the benefits of V two X

Zach Woogen (01:00:37):
And Clean air especially. Well thank you to all of our panelists. Thank you for the audience for the good questions, and thank you to Climate Center and Kurt for hosting.

Kurt Johnson (01:00:46):
Yes, thanks so much, Zach, John, Rachel, and Sam. So the reception starts right now. Next door. Thank you so much for coming to the third Annual Climate Policy Summit here in Sacramento. Hope to see you next year. Thank you so much for coming.