International

Renault Group and EEM create first ‘smart island’ in Porto Santo

by Autocar Pro News Desk Feb 27, 2018

Groupe Renault and Portugal-based energy producer EEM - Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira, which produces, transports and distributes and sells electricity on the two inhabited Portuguese islands of Madeira archipelago (Madeira and Porto Santo), have launched a smart electric ecosystem on the island of Porto Santo.

The government of the autonomous region of Madeira will roll out an innovative programme in Porto Santo, known as ‘Sustainable Porto Santo - Smart Fossil Free Island’, which will facilitate the energy transition. EEM, which is in charge of the programme’s energy and electric mobility, has chosen Renault as its partner for electric mobility solutions.

This programme will create the world’s first smart island, which will utilise electric vehicles, second-life batteries, smart charging and V2G to boost the island’s energy independence and stimulate the production of renewable energy. The partners say they along with partners have worked on this project since the beginning of the year, which is expected to last 18 months.

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“We are delighted to be teaming up with EEM and Madeira Regional Government today to establish this unprecedented smart electric ecosystem which demonstrates to what extent the electric revolution is changing our everyday lives beyond just transport. Our aim is to build a model that can be carried over to other islands, eco-districts and cities, while consistently striving to achieve large-scale rollout of electric mobility solutions that are affordable for all,” said Eric Feunteun, director - Electric Vehicles and New Business Programme, Groupe Renault.

The carmaker states that this project is an illustration of how it works in private and public sector partnerships to help create sustainable mobility solutions for all; and it is in line with its strategy to become a major player in the world of electric vehicle ecosystems and a supplier of smart mobility solutions for the cities of tomorrow.

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The company states that for designing this sustainable ecosystem Groupe Renault’s input will focus on both its electric vehicles – the Zoe and the Kangoo Z.E.s van – in three phases. In the first phase 20 volunteer users in Porto Santo will drive 14 ZOEs and 6 Kangoo Z.E.s for their everyday use. These vehicles will be able to benefit from smart charging thanks to the 40 connected public and private charging points set up by EEM and Renault on the island.

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In the second phase, by the end of 2018, the vehicles will step up their interaction with the grid by providing it with electricity during peak hours. In addition to being smart charged, the electric vehicles will therefore also serve as temporary energy storage units.

Thirdly, second-life batteries from Renault electric vehicles will be used to store the fluctuating supply of energy produced by Porto Santo’s solar and wind farms. Stored as soon as it is produced, this energy will be recovered by the grid as and when needed for meeting the local demand. Some of these batteries come from Madeira Island.

Groupe Renault states this is the first time it will demonstrate real life re-employment of second-life batteries in a local ecosystem. It is also extending beyond its role as a vehicle manufacturer to become a player in the smart electric and energy ecosystems, with the help of its partners. For the Porto Santo project, Groupe Renault has joined players from the energy sector which includes Bouygues Energies et Services, The Mobility House and ABB. 

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