How Can The Grid Possibly Manage All The Demand From EVs?
The mobility electrification of America is happening right now and accelerating faster than utilities may have expected. Every day, more EVs are driving around our communities and becoming less of a novelty than a few years ago. Electric vehicles have become more cost-effective to operate and better for the environment than gas or diesel vehicles; the switch was an easy one to make. The obligation for a proper way to manage the increased demand for power is critical to every utility with more EVs on the streets. The energy demand is here and only getting bigger. It’s time to get a solid distributed energy resource system in place to meet end users’ demands and ensure the approach to doing so is cost-effective.
How Big Is This Demand?
When you look at the facts on the energy supply impact for charging stations, it might keep a grid operator up at night. Let’s look at an example: DirectCharge Fast Current (DCFC) charge stations have a 350 kW capacity in each pump. A mall that has 10 DCFC stations has 3.5 MW of load capacity required at one store. Yes, only one store. As EV infrastructure scales and a utility has 10’s or 100’s of stores, these DERMS may reach 35 TO 350 MW of capacity within a utility. Now think about all the EV fleets coming to town needing a place to charge – be it school buses or delivery trucks.
In the last 10 years, the domestic EV marketplace has grown from 16,000 to more than 2 million vehicles, and automotive executives predict that more than 50% of vehicles on our roads will be all-electric by 2030. Americans will have to charge these vehicles and there’s a plan to meet that need. The bipartisan National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure funding bill plans for the installation of 500,000 DCFC charge points. The US grid capacity in 2021 was 1.14 billion kW and adding 500K charge points is going to bring an additional load capacity required by the grid between 75 million kW and 225 million kW when they all come online.
DERMS To The Rescue
This is not an unsolvable problem; just one utilities have to get organized around. Grid operators are currently pulling various resources across the power generation spectrum to meet these demands. This is done using Distributed Energy Resources (DER) and not looking to a single generation type for power. DER includes wind, solar, backup storage, barriers, and flexible loan management resources combined with legacy supplies and the current grid infrastructure. The challenge we see is the need to manage capacity within a utility with proper planning and scheduling. This is where DERMS comes in. DERMS provides a robust, comprehensive, cyber-secure solution for integrating, distributing, and consuming a grid’s available resources with an easy-to-use web portal.
The DERMS modular approach provides utilities with flexibility that encourages grid operators to select what they need as they need it. Since each modular element can operate independently, this method makes it easy to scale up from pilot to full program and to integrate a wide range of device partners selected by the utility. We provide a turn-key pilot program of our solution that makes it possible to easily balance/switch/schedule when to use a particular DER with legacy fuels based on pricing and availability to meet the growing needs of EVs.
- Capital savings and/or deferred capital expenditures
- Savings from introduced operational efficiencies
- Improved grid reliability
- Address evolving supply gaps (nuclear plant reductions, coal plant shutdowns, solar and wind intermittency) with reliable DR
- Reduction in environmental emissions to satisfy more stringent EPA and CO2 rules and regulations
- Enhanced collaborative customer relationships