With the Electric Vehicles now replacing the gasoline vehicles of old, the infrastructures required to maintain this process will require constant monitoring and upgrading. It is common knowledge that the United States of America has almost totally switched to the EV technology but then a new energy blueprint will be needed to maintain a stable grid to enhance the charging of Electric vehicles.
Charging points for the Electric vehicles should become a common place thing in the environment as cars may run out of power any time, it should hence be available from variety of places like the privately run charging stations, office parking lots, home garages and even government provided locations.
It is gratifying to note that in the US, the President Biden led government had announced the provision and national installment of 500,000 charging stations, together with an additional energy storage that will help the total transition to the EV mode. But the integration of the stated infrastructure and subsequent EV transitioning will require balancing the existing traffic on the grid and also managing the increasing demand in energy, which automatically stretches beyond the storage and power lines.
The EV infrastructure mainly derives its power from the grid, and it is expected it will require a very significant demand when it reaches scale but EV charging stations should ideally have their own renewable power generation intertwined with storage, with new programs and solutions required to make the availability general. In the US, an avalanche of scenarios and options on how renewable can be transformed to power EV charging have been unearthed, with the future possibility of EVs providing power to the grid.
In all these, these improvement in technology will be obtainable as the energy transition progresses, with the EU infrastructure nevertheless relying heavily on the U.S. national grid. It is therefore essential for coordination from the industry stakeholders, together with a behavioral change from the public to ensure the stability of the grid as it meets energy demands.
The U.S. Presidency’s fact sheet for EV charging infrastructure is inclined to a technical blueprint that synergizes together with the Department of Energy and Electric Power Research, with it being important that the general public, energy management storage stakeholders and utilities get adequately involved in the planning.
Here are the reasons this has to be so.
Collaboration between Stakeholders
The Charging infrastructure in the United States is currently fragmented, with most of it owned by private firms amidst series of complaints that it is difficult to find a place to charge while driving on the road, with the exemption of Tesla users. This has prompted many Electric car owners switch to gas-powered vehicles. This is not good enough but hopefully, things will change.
It is lieu if this that a coalition which comprises of some of the biggest U.S. utilities dubbed the ‘Electric Highway Coalition’ has announced its plans for a regional network of charging stations that will cover their utility territories.The coalition which included among others the American Electric Power, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy, Southern Company and the Tennessee Valley Authoritywill hopefully address the concerns enumerated above.
It should be a thing of priority that majority of the populace has access to affordable charging infrastructure, with the assurance that charging times are staggered, a valid major concern on an average stakeholder. When charging points are made readily available in many places, demands will be evenly spread, and this will help in making power available and also keep the grid balanced.
Opportunities For The Engagement Of Existing Technologies
Former U.S. Secretary of State, and current Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry had rocked the boat recently when he said that, “Fifty percent of the reductions we have to make to get to net-zero by 2050 or 2045 are going to come from technologies that we don’t yet have”.
This obviously did not sit well with the majority of the citizens , making the former Democratic Party Presidential nominee to clarify his statement by adding that the nation also has existing technologies that needed to be put to use, but to majority of the populace, it appeared like a face-saving retraction. But to be honest, the reality of that statement stare bare to the face, as existing renewable and energy transition technologies are yet to realize their full potential due to low utilization.
Utility-scale and distributed energy storage could be said to be majorly used for casual and simplistic purposes at the moment. This entails jumping in as energy demands reaches its peak, while ensuing the stability of the grid, known as balancing and frequency regulation. Peak demand will be exacerbated with the increase of renewable energy penetration, and the electrification of EVs.
Storage plays a very significant role for EV charging points as on-site storage is daily used to power charging cars at any given time. The utility-scale storage despite having similar capabilities as on-site storage can be used to store and supply renewable power to the grid in very large quantities daily and this helps in balancing the demands of the EVs.
With a stable and coordinated power system for Electric cars, utilities and utility-scale storage are intertwined with a subsystems network that co-locates energy storage with EV charging, with the systems synchronized in such a way that energy at different times of the day are gathered and dispatched according to the grid stability and availability of renewable power factors.
An ‘Intelligent management software’ manages the synchronization relying on sophisticated algorithms that can forecast and within seconds, respond to changes.
With this model, the cost of electricity and the EV demand on the grid will also be easily managed and distributed. The subsystems which could either be in municipally owned places in less developed areas would help collect power in its storage asset and fix the price on its own terms locally. The systems has the tendency to also charge residents to power up there at certain times of the day to allow more affordable charging, with the provision of alternative to real-time electricity costs in peak demand times.
Change in Behaviour
Perhaps the biggest for utilities is the management of EV loads and ways to motivate people in stagger charging their EVs. The citizens have to be lectured on how to charge at different times of the day, and spread out demand.
For example, if everyone waited till evening or off-peak periods to plug to charge, chances are that the power would be easily consumed that by evening, there would be power surge. It therefore entails sensitization of the public on the benefits of staggered charging to keep up power.
Motivation on this may vary with areas though, with many people choosing convenience over cost. It is therefore understandable that the use of EV will require that everyone, the stakeholders, utilities, private charging stations, consumers to be availed and informed of the grid demands and collectively see it as a community sharing energy.
A behavioral change is hence needed in the blueprint for the management of energy as a diverse charging network alone would not solve the issue of grid overtaxing.