NewEnergyNews: TODAY’S STUDY: Utilities, Cars With Plugs, and Smart Rate Design

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While the OFFICE of President remains in highest regard at NewEnergyNews, this administration's position on climate change makes it impossible to regard THIS president with respect. Below is the NewEnergyNews theme song until 2020.

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Big Bonus From Plugging Cars In
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: What About Nuclear?
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: A Renewables Mandate To Beat The Peak
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Global New Energy Now
  • QUICK NEWS, June 20: What Power Mix Will Beat Climate Change (Part 1)?; What Power Mix Will Beat Climate Change (Part 2)?; New Energy Is NO Threat To U.S, Grid
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Why The U.S. Needs A Western Energy Market
  • QUICK NEWS, June 19: More Artists Join The Climate Fight; U.S. Power Just Hit 10% Wind And Solar; The Dangers Of Oil And Gas Drilling, Detailed
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: Bill Maher Talks Jobs In Coal And The Real Problem
  • Weekend Video: A Farmer Defends WindPower
  • Weekend Video: The Secret To EV Success Is Charging Stations
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, June 15:

  • TTTA Thursday-Climate Change Stops Climate Study
  • TTTA Thursday-Survey Shows Millennials Back New Energy Boom
  • TTTA Thursday-Drinking Water From The Sun
  • TTTA Thursday-Ocean Wind Unites Hard Hats And Greens
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Debates About Solar Get Bigger, More Interesting
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Wind And Solar Sidestep Politics
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Utilities Respond To Customer Demand For Distributed Energy
  • --------------------------

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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, f is an occasional contributor to NewEnergyNews

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    Some of Anne's contributions:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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  • ---------------
  • THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, June 22:

  • What Does Exxon’s Carbon Tax Mean?
  • The Rump Flails Factlessly At Wind
  • New Energy To Get Bigger And Cheaper
  • EVs To Be Cost-Competitive By 2025

    Monday, May 01, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY: Utilities, Cars With Plugs, and Smart Rate Design

    Utilities and Electric Vehicles; The Case For Managed Charging

    Erika H. Meyers, April 2017 (Smart Electric Power Alliance)

    Executive Summary

    EVs are quickly becoming one of the largest flexible loads on the grid in certain parts of the United States. In an era of flat to declining load growth, many utilities see EVs as a strategic opportunity, but don’t know how best to effectively insert themselves into the emerging electrification of America’s transportation fleet.

    While most industry analysts see EVs as a boon for utilities, risks do exist. This downside is mostly associated with poor load management, such as peak load increases, transformer and substation impacts, or “timer peaks,” an inadvertent result of time-of-use rates. Even though time-of-use rates have helped shift charging hours to utilities’ preferred times of the day—late evening and early morning hours—customers often schedule their vehicles to begin charging the moment off-peak rates begin, resulting in sharp load ramps.

    Poor load management and suboptimal rate schedules could, in turn, require costly solutions. In a study commissioned by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, an estimated 17 percent (12,000) of the utility’s transformers may need to be replaced due to EV-related overloads, at an average estimated cost of $7,400 per transformer.1

    Managed Charging As A Solution

    The challenge for utilities is to find a way to distribute these charging events across the full span of off-peak hours, or even better, to time vehicle charging for periods of high renewable energy production—mid-day for solar or night-time for wind.

    Managed charging—also called V1G, intelligent, adaptive, or smart charging—allows a utility or thirdparty to remotely control vehicle charging by turning it up, down, or even off to better correspond to the needs of the grid, much like traditional demand response (DR) programs. Managed charging is different than vehicle-to-grid (V2G) dispatch, that is, the use of a plugged-in EV with available charged battery capacity to backfeed power to the grid. While V2G has been tested in a small number of pilots, a number of technical and regulatory issues need to be resolved before it can be widely and effectively used.

    While managed charging also faces some barriers, solutions are in process and could help prepare a solid foundation for V2G.

    Using managed charging as an effective grid resource—with benefits for customers and utilities —could represent a compelling opportunity for utilities. As of February 2017, more than 580,000 EVs were sold in the United States,2 representing approximately one terawatt-hour (TWh) of annual consumption.3 According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), EV electricity consumption is projected to increase to approximately 33 TWh annually by 2025, and 551 TWh by 2040.4

    Given the projected growth in EVs, and the increasing need for flexible grid resources, more utilities are evaluating the opportunity for managed charging. In the Smart Electric Power Alliance’s (SEPA) 2017 Utility Demand Response Survey, 69 percent of respondents indicated that they are planning, researching, or considering DR programs that integrate EV managed charging, compared to 20 percent that, at present, have no interest.

    Pilots And Interoperability Bottlenecks

    Utilities have been among the most innovative field testers of managed charging technologies to date, experimenting with different vendors and technology types, and achieving a certain degree of success.

    n San Diego Gas & Electric’s day-ahead, pricevarying EV rate reflects circuit and system conditions and the changing price of energy throughout the day.5 Through a user-friendly phone app, EV drivers can save money by setting vehicle charging times to low-priced hours of the day.

    n Southern California Edison used a workplace charging pilot—leveraging afternoon peaks and load reduction strategies—to learn more about driver behavior and responsiveness to pricing signals.6 The program included a high price option allowing users to have no charging disruption; a medium price allowing for peak demand curtailment from a faster Level 2 to a slower Level 1 charging rate; and a low price allowing drivers to be entirely curtailed during a demand event. One of the findings of the study was that drivers need maximum optionality, meaning if they need to charge at certain times, they want the ability to opt out.

    n Pepco’s pilot program reduced chargers from a Level 2 to a Level 1 rate of charge for an hour during a DR event and provided opt-out capabilities for customers.7 When assessing the economics of the pilot, Pepco found that that the ongoing costs of the communications link were too expensive. Identifying a cheaper solution would increase the viability of future projects.

    The Pepco pilot points to some of the technical bottlenecks for utilities looking at managed charging, including network communication and equipment interoperability. As with other grid modernization technologies, such as advanced metering infrastructure and smart thermostats, the key to wide deployment of managed charging is finding an inexpensive, reliable way to send communication signals.

    The signals a utility would send to EVs and vehicle chargers combine messaging, or application, protocols (e.g., OpenADR 2.0, OCPP) and transport layer protocols, also known as network communication interfaces (e.g., Wi-Fi, cellular).

    The messaging protocol contains the instructions— don’t charge until after midnight—while the network protocol ensures a message gets from point A to point B, but does not provide any instructions or guidance as to behaviors of the receiving devices. One of the main issues to date is deciding on a uniform messaging protocol amongst a large field of open and proprietary protocols deployed by different vehicle and charging equipment manufacturers. The development and use of appropriate and uniform communication standards is the most effective way to move the needle on managed charging.

    A Robust And Growing Ecosystem

    Despite relatively limited EV deployment to date, and the small number of pilot projects to develop and test managed charging, the EV and EV charging industry is already fairly robust. At the date of publication, approximately one-third of all manufacturers of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) had a managed charger offering, and half of all EV manufacturers had been involved in managed charging pilots either directly or indirectly, or have managed charging capabilities.8 This report provides a wide-lens overview of the managed charging ecosystem including:

    n Examples of utility programs

    n A list of vehicle-grid integration (VGI) and connected-car platform providers9

    n A list of compatible EVSE

    n Examples of automotive industry activities

    Utilities Are The Nexus

    Though the U.S. EV market is still nascent, utilities need to be involved and should begin planning now to help shape the relevant policies, regulations, and standards for the future. Utilities have a central role to play as a nexus for stakeholders in the EV space. With their deep knowledge of customer interests and expectations, utilities can proactively communicate the needs of the customer and the grid to vendors—including EV and charging equipment manufacturers—and recommend the most efficient and cost-effective strategies for common communication and other interoperability standards.

    Despite the potential benefits of managed charging, getting consumer buy-in for these programs may require utilities to develop a range of outreach and engagement strategies. After all, most consumers buy an EV not to improve grid health, but to meet their transportation requirements and, in some cases, environmental values.

    Utilities will need to keep customer considerations front and center by developing programs with user-friendly features, flexibility, and incentives. A customer-centric approach might include opt-out and override features, messaging and alerts based on customer preferences, smart phone functionality for control and management, and rewards, rebates, and other perks to keep customers happy and engaged.

    EVs are only one of many distributed energy resource (DER) technologies that can be leveraged to develop a smarter, more reliable grid. As consumers evolve to become prosumers, utilities must keep pace with their demands and expectations through experimentation and continual self-assessment of the traditional utility business model.

    Despite some initial growing pains, managed charging could prove to be a gateway for consumer adoption of other utility-managed DERs. It could also provide an innovative, highly replicable solution as our nation’s fleet transitions from conventional fuels to electricity…

    Conclusion

    As more EVs hit the road in the coming years, we will likely see widespread grid and business impacts across multiple levels of utility operations, from distribution planning, to load management, to demand response programs, and even generation and transmission teams. Though the U.S. is still in the early years of EV deployment, it is important for utilities to engage with these possibilities now, in order to be involved and developing plans which will optimize policies, regulations, and standards for the future.

    Many EVSE and vehicle manufacturers have already begun to integrate managed charging capabilities into their products to better meet utility needs. Communication standardization, cost-effectiveness, and reliability are key variables of managed charging success. Utilities have an important role in the outcome of these variables by:

    n Participating in the managed charging communication standards development process

    n Collaborating with industry to develop standards and best practices

    n Engaging vendors to share utility needs and learnings from other comparable DR efforts,

    n Providing a test bed or pilot effort for new solutions

    n Developing protocols to deploy solutions into the SCADA or DR systems

    n Providing EV education and awareness to their consumers

    n Considering alternative rate structures that could better leverage renewable energy production, particularly flexible incentives

    n Encouraging greater deployment of charging infrastructure—particularly in multi-unit family dwellings and businesses, long-distance DCFC, and residential home charging programs

    n Influencing advantageous charging habits through managed charging programs/options

    As shown in Figure 8, utilities can play a central role in steering a path which will balance the needs and expectations of customers, communicate customer and grid requirements to vendors, and relay the most cost-effective and efficient strategies for common messaging protocols to the standards community.

    Of the three external stakeholder groups identified in Figure 8, however, getting customer buy-in for managed charging programs is likely the most important and may require utilities to develop a range of outreach and engagement strategies. After all, most consumers buy an EV not to improve grid health, but to meet their transportation requirements and, in some cases, environmental values.

    Utilities will need to keep customer considerations front and center by developing programs with user-friendly features, flexibility, and incentives. A customer-centric approach might include opt-out and override features, messaging and alerts based on customer preferences, smart phone functionality for control and management, and rewards, rebates, and other perks to keep customers happy and engaged.

    EVs are only one of many DER technologies that can be leveraged to develop a smarter, more reliable grid. As consumers evolve to become prosumers, utilities must keep pace with their demands and expectations through experimentation and continual self-assessment of the traditional utility business model.

    Despite some initial growing pains, managed charging could prove to be a gateway for consumer adoption of other utility-managed DERs. It could also provide an innovative, highly replicable solution as our nation’s fleet transitions from conventional fuels to electricity.

    Key Considerations:

    n Further work is needed to understand what types of incentives and management strategies will shift load effectively, while maintaining a satisfactory user experience for drivers.

    n Defining the value of managed charging will enhance the business case and provide greater visibility to the need in certain regions.

    n To keep costs low, least-cost communication solutions should be strongly considered. For example, Wi-Fi-connected EVSE communicating to the utility through the homeowner’s router could significantly improve the economics to the utility of a managed charging program.

    n Getting the business model for managed charging right is important—defining the costs and payback for both the utility and EV driver— and establishing industry standards will reduce costs, barriers, and complexity.

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