Is the Grid Ready for the Electric Vehicle Revolution?

To understand the rise in electric vehicle adoption and its impact on the grid, it is easiest to start with the stakeholders.

First – the manufacturers. By 2035, many major auto manufacturers will have shifted to only electric models, from luxury sports cars to mass-market economy vehicles. More specifically, these notable manufacturers have shared their all-electric target dates:

  • Jaguar – 2025
  • Volvo – 2030
  • Ford – only EV (Electric Vehicle) in Europe by 2030
  • General Motors – 2035

It is not just passenger cars in the mix, fleet owners are also committing to EVs (Electric Vehicles) – in early 2021, Amazon announced they planned to employ 10,000 electric vehicle delivery vans in 2022 and 100,000 by 2030.

Second – the drivers. While growing numbers of people were environmentally-minded prior to COVID-19, the pandemic has accelerated concerns about sustainability. Mastercard reported that in a study in 24 countries, 85% of respondents said they were willing to take personal action to support sustainability. That includes 54% who believe it is even more important than ever to reduce their personal carbon footprint since the onset of COVID-19. As a result, demand for electric passenger cars is growing significantly and is expected to reach a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.8% from 2021-2030.

Third – the elected leaders. Government policies are playing a role in electric vehicle growth. President Biden announced a robust new goal to make half of all new cars sold in 2030 zero-emissions vehicles. This target includes battery-electric, plug-in hybrid electric, or fuel cell electric vehicles. In Europe, The European Commission is aiming to have 30 million electric vehicles on the road by the end of the decade.

Powering the Rise in Electric Vehicle Demand

As electric vehicle usage gains traction, there have been continued debates on the impacts on the grid. Our grid infrastructure is undeniably aging, and already strained beyond its original capacity. Nationally, energy demand for electric vehicle charging could reach 53 billion kilowatt-hours by 2030, a 20-fold jump. Based on stats like this, analysts point to the need to build new power plants and upgrade transmission systems yet understand that this type of monumental change does not happen overnight. On the other hand, proper grid management can prevent capacity issues.

It is clear, one way or another, utilities, energy partners, businesses and other stakeholders need to prepare for the accelerated growth of electric vehicle charging stations. In California alone, a new $437 million fund was approved to build thousands of charge ports across the state. If there is a surge in vehicles all trying to charge at once, the grid will quickly become overloaded. Careful planning of this uptick in usage will be critical to maintaining grid reliability. Methods like time-of-use rates and off-peak charging can manage demand and load. It is important to approach future electricity demand proactively, with a focus on efficient allocation.

Related Post: How Businesses are Leveraging Demand Response to Help Create Energy Resilient Communities, and how Walgreens is Paving the Way

Some utilities are already making strides in proactive grid management. For example, Southern California Edison offers significantly reduced rates if vehicles charge up when solar power is abundant. Shifts like this are still in the preliminary stages but could yield significant benefits. Boston Consulting Group reported that utilities could save up to 70% of grid upgrade costs by shifting to optimized charging strategies.

Electric vehicle adoption used to be a matter of “if,” now it’s a matter of “how.” Auto manufacturers have made bold commitments, consumers are increasingly ready for non-fossil fuel-powered cars, and local, national, and international governments are putting policies in place to support these changes. Concerns about grid overload and the rapid pace of change are valid. Still, with adaptive grid management techniques and a proactive approach to anticipating demand, we will be better prepared for the electric future.

The Emergence of the Energy Conscious Enterprise

The Emergence of the Energy Conscious Enterprise

As significant economic, political and technological forces evolve, enterprises are continuing to shift into a more energy-conscious mindset. New advances in technology are making innovative energy management possible, affordable and achievable from the residential sector to businesses with multiple locations across the country.

Asset-level submetering, environmental monitoring and cloud-based software platforms, in particular, are changing the way enterprises measure, monitor and manage energy usage with affordable solutions that can generate up to 30% savings, typically with 24-month-payback. In our newest white paper, GridPoint has identified five megatrends transforming the way enterprises approach energy management to reduce carbon emissions and save money:

Megatrend 1: Rising and Volatile Energy PricesEnergy prices are on a long-term, secular rise. In fact, the United States Department of Energy estimates that industrial electricity prices will grow an average 1.9% annually and 46% total over the next 20 years after inflation due to demand growth, resource supply, capacity lagging behind increased demand, political events and unexpected weather such as the polar vortex.

Megatrend 2: Government Regulation and Standards

There are numerous organizations that create and promote standards for energy management and overall building energy efficiency, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) among others, which highlight the importance of real-time, asset-level submetering to achieve granular visibility into energy use, optimize site operations and satisfy regulatory compliance requirements.

Megatrend 3: Corporate Responsibility

Corporate responsibility continues to be a key goal and priority for corporations and government institutions alike as good citizenship behavior is expected by the market and constituents.

Megatrend 4: Internet of Things

The rapid growth of devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) makes energy management more affordable and effective than ever before. IoT devices communicate to each other by sending data over a network without any necessary human interaction and, according to Business Insider’s “Here Comes the Internet of Things,” these devices are estimated to grow from 10 billion in 2012 to 70 billion in 2020.

Megatrend 5: Data-driven Energy Management

Finally, you cannot manage what you do not measure. Data-driven energy efficiency management will become an expected approach to achieve maximum financial savings, operational efficiencies, capital returns and carbon reductions.

As a result of these five megatrends, tomorrow’s successful organizations will become energy conscious today by leveraging real-time energy usage data to gain visibility, analysis and control of their overall energy usage.

To learn more about what’s fueling the market, download GridPoint’s white paper The Five Megatrends Shaping the Energy Conscious Enterprise or our e-book available on Slideshare.