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Electric & Hybrid Cars: New Load, or New Resource?

The industry must join a growing chorus in calling for new technology.

Fortnightly Magazine - December 2006

2005. Thus, in the case of a PHEV providing 10 kW of spinning reserves, assuming they were dispatched for every event during the year, it translates into total energy throughput of 210 kWh of energy. It is likely that this level of energy throughput would contribute little to overall battery degradation. In contrast, regulation reserves would require short and frequent charging and discharging of the onboard battery pack. Given limited knowledge of how the next generation battery technology likely to find its way into PHEVs would be affected by this type of cycling, we are unable to provide an estimate of potential battery degradation from providing this service.

Windfall or Headache?

PHEVs represent an exciting opportunity to create greater energy independence and at the same time reduce harmful emissions. Furthermore, as the electric-supply mix becomes greener, this affords additional environmental benefits as the vehicle fleet becomes increasingly reliant on electricity as a form of energy for transportation.

We believe that PHEVs represent an historic business opportunity for the electric utility industry that is not yet fully appreciated. Rarely in history has an emerging technology offered such an attractive opportunity for the industry, as both a new load and resource, to enhance overall performance of the electric-power infrastructure.

Are there challenges to realizing the vision? Yes. But the time is now for the industry to take a serious look at the PHEV potential. We believe that the evidence is sufficiently compelling that the industry should lend its voice to a growing chorus of stakeholders calling for the major auto manufacturers to deliver a commercial PHEV to the market, begin V2G demonstrations, and develop business models that could serve to efficiently and profitably exploit the emerging V2G potential.

 

Endnotes:

1. Romm, J. and A. Frank. (2006) Hybrid vehicles. Scientific America . April 2006. pp. 72 – 79. and Sanna L. 2005. Driving the solution: The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. The EPRI Journal , pp. 9 – 17.

2. Letendre, S. and W. Kempton, 2002. " The V2G concept: A new model for power? " Public Utilities Fortnightly 140(4): 16-26.

3. Denholm, P. and W. Short. 2006. An evaluation of utility system impacts and benefits of optimally dispatched plug-in hybrid electric vehicles , National Renewable Energy Laboratory Technical Report, TP-620-40293.

4. Denholm, P. and W. Short. 2006. An evaluation of utility system impacts and benefits of optimally dispatched plug-in hybrid electric vehicles , National Renewable Energy Laboratory Technical Report, TP-620-40293.

5. Markel, T., M. O’Keefe, A. Simpson, J. Gonder, and A. Brooker. 2005. “Plug-in HEV’s: a near-term option to reduce petroleum consumption FY05 Milestone Report,” National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado August, 2005. and National Economic Council. 2006. Advanced energy initiative , via http://www.whitehouse.gov/stateoftheunion/2006/energy/

6. Kempton, W., Jasna T., Letendre, S., Brooks, A., & Lipman, T. 2001. Electric drive vehicles-battery, hybrid, and fuel cell-as resources for distributed electric power in California , University of California Davis, ITS-RR-01-03.

7. Brooks, A. 2002. Vehicle-to-grid demonstration project: Grid regulation ancillary service with a battery electric vehicle Report, AC Propulsion, December 2002. Sponsored by CARB.

8. Kempton, W.