This article was originally published on Utility Dive | 01/31/2020
As a new decade dawns, there’s cause for optimism that the 2020s will see the transition to clean energy accelerate. Prices of renewable energy and battery technologies are at an all-time low, and the number of electric vehicle (EV) sales are on the rise.
Analysts predict that by 2040, more than half of all vehicles on the road will be electric. With transportation contributing to nearly 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, electrifying how people get from point A to point B is a critical step in reducing our global carbon footprint.
But increased electric demand from the expansion of EVs poses challenges to an already strained electric grid. Experts are calling on solar energy, storage solutions and software to play critical roles in supporting this surge to the grid.
Fortunately, some companies are already thinking creatively about these challenges and developing solutions that make the interplay between these technologies easier.
Over the past few years, the e-mobility industry has identified certain patterns in the grid’s capacity. Researchers warn against the “dragon curve” (Figure 1), a name for spikes in energy demand that occur during weekday mornings when drivers charge their vehicles at work and in the evenings when drivers charge at home.
This will likely worsen as ultra-fast charging comes into play and faster charging times increase energy demand.
This is similar to the solar industry’s “duck curve” (Figure 2), which describes the energy imbalance of solar generation during the day and peak energy usage in the evening. The key takeaway is that existing grid infrastructure is not prepared to support the electric mobility boom.
This challenge, however, opens the door to new business opportunities.