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Managing Future Energy Needs Via Super-Fast EV Charging


One of the most-anticipated stories of the coming decade in utility demand and management comes with the expected market boom in the electric vehicle (EV) market. Almost everywhere in the United States, the cost and emissions per mile driven is cheaper via EV than traditional gasoline-powered vehicle (with the remaining holdouts already on the brink of decarbonizing the grid enough to join the rest of the nation), and a record-high number of Americans are telling researchers that their next car purchase will be electric. While that's a great trend overall emission and climate goals, shifting widespread transportation energy needs from the gas pump to the wall outlet will require a prepared electric sector and power grid. 

As the nation and a wide variety of affected industries continue to prepare for this change in the status quo, the Brattle Group recently put out a study that highlighted a potential plan that would see direct super-fast EV chargers being placed at highway service centers located close to existing power transmission substations, thus minimizing the amount of new power delivery infrastructure required and maximizing the ability of utilities to manage their energy generation/transmission needs. 

Electric vehicle car charging. Photo credit: Myrtle Beach TheDigitel/Flickr.

Some highlights of the study include the following:

  • "Citing a DOE study, the Brattle researchers sketched a future in which 400 and 800 fast-charging stations would be built along highways spaced 35 to 70 miles apart."
  • "The study estimates that $30 billion to $90 billion in new high-voltage power lines will be needed in the United States. by 2030 to supply new sources of low-carbon energy for a vastly expanded demand for electricity with electric vehicles taking 20 percent to 40 percent of new vehicle sales, and electrification of home heating also expanding. The number would climb to $200 billion to $600 billion between 2030 and 2050."
  • "To deliver much greater supplies of electric power over the 2030-2050 period could take as much as $25 billion per year in new power line investments, an increase of 170 percent over the annual average for the past decade. 'The resulting impact on customer rates is likely very modest or even beneficial,' the Brattle authors concluded."

EV charging infrastructure so often ties into home and business charging, but how do you see a network of super-fast charging stations affecting the energy management systems across utilties?

Matt Chester's picture

Thank Matt for the Post!

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