An automobile fleet that included even 10% electric vehicles would be enough to shift the daily electricity generation peak in California from daytime to nighttime hours if utility Southern California Edison used the cars to store renewable energy while they’re parked and draw it down when it’s needed most, according to a study released last week.
The review of 5,000 SoCalEd customers’ hourly electricity use and commuting behaviour by Atlanta-based Jackson associates found that the average EV user would save US$560 per year if the utility used the batteries to level out grid demand.
“We were surprised both at the relatively small 10% EV market saturation required to completely clip the SCE residential peak and the large annual savings…even after paying for nighttime recharging,” said Jackson Associates President Jerry Jackson. The study points to the opportunity for power companies to shift from defensive “managed charging” strategies to “an offence strategy that draws on EV battery storage during peak hours with overnight recharging,” he added.
A separate report this month by the U.S. Smart Electric Power Alliance foresaw 20 million EVs on U.S. roads by 2030, up from 1.26 million today. It concluded that “utilities need to plan ahead to minimize grid impacts,” but flagged a “trillion-dollar EV opportunity for prepared and proactive utilities,” Utility Dive reports.
The SEPA report “recommends utilities identify opportunities to incorporate load management, including managed charging and rate design, and adopt open charging protocols to ‘help provide alignment around charging industry standards and load management to leverage EVs as a grid asset’,” the industry newsletter notes. “Utilities see potential in using EVs as grid assets, but also must consider technical concerns, manufacturer warranties, and range complexities.”
Duke Energy’s director of electrification strategy, Lang Reynolds, told Utility Dive that vehicle-to-grid integration “has gotten a lot of hype over the last few years, but in terms of providing value to the grid we still have some work to do to prove that out.”“In some instances, distribution system upgrades are necessary to accommodate charging, and city codes and laws must be navigated by customers,” explains reporter Robert Walton. “Utilities are increasingly stepping in, working with customers to better discern their electrification needs and the most effective ways to move forward.”