Chasing wind: How EV drivers in Nova Scotia can charge up on wind power
Electric vehicles are shaping our future.
It’s a shift that will change transportation as we know it, leading to lower emissions, exciting new driving experiences—and a greater demand for electricity.
You might be wondering what all this means for our communities, for drivers and for our electricity grid. As more Nova Scotians plug in their vehicles, we need to be prepared. It’s why we launched our Electric Vehicle Smart Charging Pilot, in partnership with ev.energy. It’s a program focused on testing how smart charging can help us get ready for more EVs on the road, including learning about the benefits for both the grid and for Nova Scotians.
We spoke with Ed Cullinan, Manager of Product Development, about the pilot and what we’ve learned so far—along with Trevor Hennigar, an EV owner participating in the program.
What is smart charging?
“Smart charging allows Nova Scotia Power to influence the time when an electric vehicle is charging at home,” explains Ed. “This enables us to shift charging away from periods of peak demand for electricity—like at the end of the workday, when many Nova Scotians will arrive home and plug in their vehicles—to lower demand times, like overnight.”
By reducing the overall demand on the electrical system, we can operate the grid more efficiently—this can help lower electricity costs for all Nova Scotians. But the benefits for customers don’t end there.
“Customers also have the opportunity to save money on their bill, by collaborating with us to shift charging,” says Ed. “They are always in control of their vehicle and will always get it charged by the time they need it.”
For Trevor, a passionate EV driver, taking part has been seamless—and another way to support Nova Scotia’s transition to electric transportation. As the COO of Rimot, a company focused on helping vessels in the Marine sector electrify, exploring technology like this is a step in the right direction.
“Every EV owner should consider participating in this pilot—it has been completely hassle-free. My EV is always charged when I need it and through the ev.energy app, I can stay informed about when and why my charging is being shifted. It’s fun to test out new technology while helping the environment, our grid and saving a little money.”
Chart provided by ev.energy
Charging your EV with wind energy
Another advantage of smart charging we’ve explored with ev.energy is the ability to ‘follow the wind’. There’s no shortage of blustery weather here in Nova Scotia, and by shifting charging to periods when wind generation will be high, we can make EV charging even cleaner.
“Using a wind generation forecast to determine charging times has proven to be a successful strategy,” says Ed. “By shifting charging to times when our generation mix is lower carbon, we can make a meaningful difference. For example, in one test of managed charging, we were able to reduce carbon emissions by over 10 per cent. This is compared against the regular charging that would have otherwise started as soon as the customer plugged in.”
In collaboration with ev.energy, we were one of the first utilities in Canada to demonstrate the potential for carbon emission reductions by shifting EV charging to align with wind generation. It’s an exciting milestone—and one that Ed says will lead to other opportunities.
“Imagine the implications of smart charging when there are more electric vehicles on the road. It can lead to cleaner transportation and lower costs of charging at home, all while enabling us to bring more renewable energy to the grid. It’s exciting to think about what the future will look like.”
Trevor agrees—and he envisions an electrified future beyond just our personal vehicles, including public transportation and marine vessels, like fishing boats and commercial ships.
“We have a huge opportunity to be a leader in our province and drive innovation in electric mobility,” he says. “When more people participate in programs like these, the learnings can be applied, and the programs get bigger and better—together, we can make a difference.”
For more information about smart charging, and to learn if you’re eligible to participate in our pilot, visit nspower.ca/EVpilot
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