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New Report Examines Electric Vehicles as a Grid Resource

May 12, 2014

VEIC has completed a study to examine the role of electric vehicles in optimizing the management of Northeast U.S. electricity supply. The newly-released report, completed for Efficiency Vermont, reveals system-wide benefits in strategically exploiting the electric vehicle’s capabilities not only to draw power from the electric grid but also to store and discharge electricity as supply for the grid.

When Efficiency Vermont requested the study last year, the need to determine the regional impact of power demand from electric vehicles (EVs) was clear. In Vermont, the state energy plan mandated that 25% of vehicles would be powered with renewable energy sources by 2030. Adoption of the EV in Vermont was growing at a rate of 40% quarterly, and projections for EV numbers in the state ranged as high as 23,000 within 10 years. 2013 was also a year in which Vermont distribution utilities were installing advanced meters at 90% of the state’s homes and businesses. Expected to generate electricity usage data in intervals as short as 15 minutes, the new Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) held great promise for strengthening demand management and resource planning efforts.

In this environment, VEIC’s Transportation Efficiency team saw conditions favorable to shifting EVs from a potential grid burden to an asset. The team embarked on a study of the EV as a chargeable device, an energy storage unit, and – when coupled with emerging technologies – as a discharge device supplying electricity to the grid. In consideration of the AMI’s ability to identify energy demand in near-real time, the study explored three roles for EVs:

  • aiding demand-side management / flattening load fluctuations through electric-rate-motivated and/or technologically controlled EV charging at off-peak hours;
  • serving, in aggregate, as a wholesale market resource, through integration at the regional grid level, and
  • serving, in aggregate, as a storage resource, coupled with renewable energy sources, to provide distributed generation guarantees in capacity markets.

In its report, VEIC identifies challenges and recommended paths to the realization of the EV’s potential as a grid resource. The report examines regulatory, policy, and technological implications and includes summaries of related U.S. research projects.

Read more about VEIC’s latest research findings in Electric Vehicles as Grid Resources in ISO-NE and Vermont.

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