Load Management Opportunities in Electric Vehicles
- June 12, 2019
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Finding reliable and creative ways for utilities to manage the ebbs and flows of their power demand and power supply is of increasing concern and focus. Strategies like demand response, flexible pricing, and more are being tested out widely, but one of the key technological solutions will inevitably focus on energy storage. While large-scale energy storage installations and other battery technology will continue to get R&D focus, an increasing area of interest for utilities is in leveraging the growing electric vehicle (EV) market to be a type of mobile, on-demand load management tool.
In this arena, a report from Navigant Research recently found that utilities and project developers alike can reap the benefit of energy storage, without large upfront investment, through these type of mobile advanced battery solutions. According to one of the senior research analysts,
"Drivers for mobile advanced batteries include cost deferral potential, short-term load management, and flexibility."
The study goes deep into topics about specific battery technologies on the market, as well as any issues that mobile battery solutions may face at key junctions on the electricity value chain (issues the report says can be managed with adequate planning).
Another development in the EV batteries for load management story came with the recent partnership between EV Connect Partners and DTE Energy as they fund EV charging infrastructure in Michigan. This partnership has multiple goals, including expanding the reach of EV chargers more widely so more customers are comfortable making the plunge and make those chargers easier to find. But wrapped into the benefits and motivations selling this partnership is that "Charging Forward will continue to accelerate DTE's engagement in the EV market to further understand EV drivers, EV loads and their relationship to overall system load, and the associated impacts on the distribution system."
Lastly, for anyone intrigued or curious about the topic, I would point you to the recent conversation I had with Erika Myers of SEPA on managed charging and turning EVs into grid assets that I published to Energy Central. In particular, Myers noted:
""The part that excites me the most," Myers noted, "is the ability to soak up excess solar and excess wind as opposed to curtailing. With EVs on the road, they're probably the most flexible loads out there because they're parked for something in the neighborhood of 95% of the time or more. So, if we can take advantage of these batteries that are in vehicles customers have already paid for and are willing to let us somehow manage that, then I think that would be a fantastic asset."