Vehicle-to-grid, regulated deregulation, and the energy conversion imaginary

Eisler, Matthew N.; Carlson, W. Bernard and Conway, Erik M., eds. (2024) Vehicle-to-grid, regulated deregulation, and the energy conversion imaginary. In: Electrical Conquest. Archemides (ARIM) . Springer, Cham, pp. 251-280. ISBN 9783031445910 (

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Automobility and grid electricity are pervasive forms of energy conversion infrastructure that have existed as discrete entities for most of their history. Periodically, however, actors have looked to electric vehicles as a means of solving sociotechnical problems in the business of electricity. In the early days of electricity, systems builders saw electric vehicles as a way of creating demand and storing electricity. Around the turn of the millennium, some analysts believed that electric vehicles mandated by the state of California could be repurposed to supply high-cost ancillary services that the state had unbundled from formerly unified generation, transmission, and distribution services and commodified through market-oriented deregulation. Known as vehicle-to-grid, this imagined massive system of distributed energy storage and power generation was later perceived as an important means of managing the integration of renewable energy conversion systems into the grid. This paper argues that vehicle-to-grid was a product of contradictory public policy impulses that illustrate the challenges neoliberal dirigisme (quasi-planning) faced in renovating legacy energy conversion systems in dynamic environmental and social conditions.