The EV grid strategy that everybody’s talking about

Grid imageDTE and Consumers Energy will be offering time of use rates to consumers come 2017, which is a critical component of a strategy for encouraging EV adoption that many environmental groups are advocating. Last month, it was Nancy Pfund of SolarCity’s Board of Directors. This month, Patty Monahan and Dan Adler at the Energy Foundation are advocating similar ideas in Utility Dive.

The idea is that utilities should take advantage of increasing interest and solidify their place as suppliers of EV fuel. The first step is for utilities to offer at home charging infrastructure. Monahan and Adler write:

“EV charging stations must integrate with the grid seamlessly, and meet the same rigorous standards for safety and reliability required of utilities. If states are to truly push the large-scale deployment of EVs, they’ll need to turn to utilities as the most experienced operator.”

The next step is to offer time of use rates to consumers, encouraging them to charge their vehicles when the grid’s demand is low-- overnight, for example. But this is a win for utilities as well, as they are able to “increase their capacity utilization rates of fixed assets, which then allows them to collect more net revenues.”

That’s the bare-bones strategy. After that, there are questions of creating a flexible grid and enabling Vehicle to Grid power exchange. A few years ago, the fluid energy running from car to grid and from grid to car was still a technological puzzle, but pilot programs are now underway in a few cities. These will act as testing grounds for different policies around V2G tech.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Robert Davies via Creative Commons