One question often raised as more plug-in style vehicles are added to local power grids is what impact they may have on load requirements. In Florida, at least, this isn’t being seen as an issue for at least the next 10 years, according to a recent report issued by that state’s public utility commission.
The Florida Public Service Commission (FSPC), in its findings [PDF], concluded that “EV charging is expected to have a negligible effect on electricity consumption in Florida within the ten-year planning horizon” and that “EVs are also not currently expected to cause a significant increase in electric demand or contribute significantly to a need for new generation until well past 2021.” This looks to be good news indeed for the fledgling EV movement in this state, which currently is believed to be somewhere between 1,000 and 6,000 vehicles. This is based upon data provided by utilities and other organizations – apparently no government agency there tracks those figures formally.
So how is Florida able to say with certainty electric vehicles plugged in won’t impact local grids that much? Estimates. The FSPC projected that “based on an estimate of 5,531 EVs, it is estimated that EVs will result in approximately 22.1 Gigawatt-hours (GWh) of energy consumption during 2012. Total energy consumption in Florida in 2012 is estimated at 238,645 GWh, so the additional amount due to EVs is less than 0.01 percent.” This isn’t expected percentage wise to jump much between now and 2021, as estimates peg grid EV consumption to only be .33 percent total by that year.
Now what might possibly be an issue for Florida’s power grid in coming years is the so-called “clustering” of EVs in certain residential neighborhoods. Were this to happen, the FSPC said, its possible some equipment in select areas might need to be swapped out to handle, say, overnight demands of a larger number of EVs charging in a smaller area at the same time. This is especially true if more homes start making use of the higher voltage EV chargers that promise quicker charging times to owners.
Florida officials, considering all of the sunny days their state gets, also decided to take a look at the impact solar charging might have to help alleviate grid pressure. It was concluded, given “solar production times” don’t often match up with when folks are actually charging their cars, that this wasn’t a viable substitute unless individuals were willing to pony up thousands of extra dollars for energy storage devices such as larger batteries.
And for those which might worry about EVs being a waste to charge, consider this – “current FPSC estimates place gasoline savings at 356 gallons per year per plug-in hybrid EV and at 480 gallons per year per fully electric vehicle. As a result, it is estimated that approximately 2,131,728 gallons of gasoline may be saved by EVs in 2012, increasing to approximately 89,447,402 gallons in 2021.”