Interview with Doug Houseman, Sean Morash and Scott Fisher
QUESTIONS: Has the industry considered using Electric Vehicle (EV) demand to shift the energy consumption to align with renewable energy generation or to store otherwise curtailed renewable energy?
Yes. The utility industry often refers to strategic shifting of EV charging as “Smart Charging.” The effect of EV load has often been cited as a possible way to strategically match demand with increased renewable (non-dispatchable) generation. This can be accomplished through a variety of means, including EV rate designs that incentivize charging during times when wholesale power is cheapest. More advanced methodologies for Smart Charging include treating EVs as distributed energy resources with an open line of communication from the utility to the charger that allows for the utility to actively manage EV demand.
Could we see situations where charger owners reduce charging on the 5 highest demand days of summer?
This idea builds upon the previous question, but is really more of a policy question. There are multiple ways that EV charging loads may be shaped, or shifted. The idea of curtailing load on the 5 highest demand days of the year would align with the Critical Peak Pricing structures that have been developed in many parts of the country for large commercial businesses. Depending on the jurisdiction, Critical Peak Pricing is in effect for roughly 15 days per year. There are tremendous social benefits to economically incentivizing EV owners to charge their cars during periods of less system-wide demand. The overall effect is lower bills for everyone because of less expensive energy procurement and a diminished demand for peak generation.