With a rapidly increasing number of electric vehicles being deployed, the large-scale integration of these EVs into electric grids presents unique challenges and opportunities.
On the sidelines of the 27th Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS-27), held recently in Barcelona, the Clean Energy Ministerial’s International Smart Grid Action Network (ISGAN) and Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI) held a workshop to discuss the potential for closer collaboration. With a rapidly increasing number of electric vehicles being deployed, the large-scale integration of these EVs into electric grids presents unique challenges and opportunities. This workshop answered a call from ministers, delegates and private sector representatives at CEM4 who called for better coordination among cross-cutting CEM initiatives.
The number of EVs globally is expected to grow significantly over the next decade as technologies improve, prices fall, and demand grows for low-emissions transportation choices. If clustered and unmanaged, EV charging could increase stress on overtaxed power distribution networks and raise the risk of cascading grid failures. The inherent mobility of EVs can also make it difficult to accurately forecast grid loads and ensure proper assignment of charging costs.
EVs and smart grids also share much in common including a focus on using widespread electronic sensors, controls, and information and communications technologies (ICT) to manage energy demand. At the interface with power systems, large-scale EV integration brings innovative possibilities such as serving as distributed storage resources, demand-response providers, and, when integrated with other distributed energy resources such as solar PV, an integral part of resilient minigrid systems.
While a number of firms, policy makers, and others have begun to investigate the potential impacts and opportunities of large-scale EV integration in power systems, the incentives and policy supports to encourage such integration are not yet in place.
Through this workshop and closer collaboration, EVI and ISGAN participants are working to identify EV-grid integration topics that require more research or other attention, highlight those to decision makers, and support development of projects or programs that address gaps. Work is already beginning on case studies highlighting the key concerns and possibilities for EV-grid integration, with delivery anticipated at the fifth CEM meeting in Seoul in May 2013.