This month’s question: What impact do you think electric vehicles will have on your system in the next 10 years?
Answer: Electric vehicles will have a major impact on our system in the next 10 years, as well as the rest of the country. The big question is, will that impact be positive or negative?
The answer to that question lies in how we react to the increase in energy requirements and how we communicate with our membership. By providing attractive rate options for our members and giving good charging advice, we can control our demand and negate any undesirable impact on our system.
I also predict that EVs will have a positive impact on our schools and farming communities. Electric school buses and tractors are right around the corner, and I’m excited to be a part of bringing those new technologies to our rural community. Being a leader in energy delivery, we must focus on education for our agricultural and business members to make sure we provide adequate resources for these entities to make sound EV purchases.
I really believe EVs will be the most significant system impact we will see in the next 10 years, and I have to say, I’m looking forward to it. With nearly every major auto manufacturer announcing their transition to EVs, the writing is on the wall. We just have to take the initiative and make this positive for everyone.
Answer: We recently completed an in-depth study to determine the impact EVs would have on our system, and it is alarming.
Our co-op territory serves a major tourism corridor for Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Lake Powell, the Grand Canyon and the Grand Staircase National Monument. This activity brings over 10 million visitors a year to our area. Our study focused on the projection of EV daily driving visits during the next five to 10 years. Because most of our expected tourists will be coming from California, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada, we believe our study numbers to be accurate. The study forecasts we will move from 50,000 EV visits per year in 2022 to more than 500,000 visits by 2025. By that time, it is projected that 10% of all new cars sold will be EVs. We believe the market trend will call for level 3 fast chargers, which require a 150 kW to 500 kW capacity demand. This is going to have a gigantic impact on our system, both in terms of potential revenue and in infrastructure costs to support the increase.
Also, because the energy landscape is rapidly changing, it’s critical that we have dependable baseload power and transmission systems in place to meet the future requirements. If we don’t figure all this out, my existing membership may end up on my doorstep demanding we do better to keep their refrigerators cold while at the same time, our nation demands greater EV access to our beauty. Big money will be needed to take on this challenge.
Answer: When we at Indian Electric discuss electric vehicles, one word describes all the conversations: change. Regardless of whether the topic is member marketing, charging technologies, rate structures or distribution infrastructure, it all means change from how we have planned in the past.
Outside funding opportunities such as Volkswagen mitigation money make it possible for rural schools to look toward using all-electric school buses. One school bus has a minor impact. But when it turns into three, we just added a small subdivision worth of load to our system.
Communications with our G&T will have an added importance, with the development of time-of-use rates. Efforts to shift the charging times of all EVs can make substantial differences to the power bill as well as future system upgrades. Workplans we are developing now must consider locations of EV growth and the impact to distribution and transmission systems.
The government is targeting specific markets, as they do with most subsidies. The largest impact to the climate is realized by the conversion of school buses, transit buses and city vehicles to EVs ranging from 100 kW to 350 kW each.
Planning for future system needs takes on a whole new meaning with electric vehicles.
Answer: Jo-Carroll Energy is excited about the growth opportunity that electric vehicles will bring to our area over the next 10 years. We serve an environmentally sensitive area in the Driftless Region along the Mississippi River. Having added our third community solar project and working with our G&Ts to add additional renewable and sustainable energy, the more beneficial it will be when charging and operating EVs in our service territory.
We recently joined an EV charging network (charge.coop) made up of Midwest co-ops (and quickly expanding). We expect to add two fast chargers this year that complement the numerous level 2 chargers that are spread across our service territory. Several of our hospitality members have reached out to us with a desire to partner with us to grow the EV network further.
Considering possible impacts, we are working closely with our G&Ts in developing programs and wholesale rates that will mitigate demand concerns, encourage the addition of home chargers and allow us to develop rates that will incentivize off-peak charging. Yes, there may be required system upgrades, but the benefits of growth far outweigh any system impact concerns.