ORIGINAL REPORTING: Why Utilities Need To Respond Now To The EV Boom
Why utilities need to respond now to the EV boom; Utilities can either embrace electric vehicle growth or be caught "flat footed" when new power demand materializes, an RMI report warns.
Herman K. Trabish, Oct. 9, 2017 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Numbers have accrued since this story ran that the predicted EV boom is coming.
Accelerating growth forecasts for electric vehicles have energy analysts urging utilities to start planning for their impacts on the grid today. By 2021, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) forecasts U.S. electric vehicle (EV) sales could reach 800,000 annually. By 2025, the Edison Electric Institute, a utility trade group, estimates there could be 7 million zero-emission vehicles on U.S. roads. EV sales in the U.S. have been growing at a compound annual growth rate of 32% for the past four years and there could be 2.9 million EVs on the road in the U.S. within five years, adding over 11,000 GWh of new load to the U.S. power grid, according to Chris Nelder, electricity practice manager at the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI).
“From Gas To Grid: Building Charging Infrastructure To Power Electric Vehicle Demand.” EVs are only 1% of total vehicles sales today, but if the forecasts are accurate, utilities could capture about $1.5 billion in new annual electricity sales if they plan to meet that 11,000 GWh of new load, Nelder said. Failing to prepare for EV growth with grid upgrades and rate design reforms could leave utilities “flat footed” when this new load materializes, Nelder added. But if utilities reform their rate designs and infrastructure planning to account for EV growth, they could spur more deployment than than the most optimistic of forecasts and deliver savings even to customers who don't own the cars themselves. It is could also open the EV transformation to a future of shared autonomous electric vehicles, which is why utility planners must think ahead, Nelder said… click here for more