Image: Clean Energy Ministerial

The opportunities and challenges of electric vehicle (EV) and power system integration are investigated in a new study from the Clean Energy Ministerial.

The number of EVs on the roads is growing fast with the push for decarbonisation of the transport sector. Already in 2019, there were about 8 million EVs on the roads globally. The International Energy Agency projects that by 2030 there will be at least 140 million EVs under current policy measures and potentially as many as 245 million.

While this brings a significant reduction in carbon emissions – estimated as much as two-thirds compared to conventional vehicles – the resultant global demand for electricity could increase by up to 1,000TWh or around 4% of total final electricity consumption.

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Policy for EV market development will be critical for power system integration, according to the report. Besides meeting the increased demand, network challenges must be addressed, particularly at the distribution level with the majority of charging activity expected to be residential for passenger vehicles.

In order to plan properly and implement measures such as smart charging, EV adoption and use projections must account for the mobility changes that the policies seek to achieve.

The report was compiled to address opportunities to couple the power and transportation sectors so that EVs can be integrated efficiently into the electricity system.

Another finding is that maximizing the benefits of transport electrification requires the active engagement of stakeholders at multiple levels, public and private, to ensure interoperability, effective system integration and sector coupling.

Further, mechanisms to integrate EVs and the power system need to be designed both around EV users and their mobility needs and the optimal use of grid assets. Understanding the diversity of mobility needs is essential to designing load management and demand response programmes that are convenient and rewarding for EV users.

A central issue to vehicle electrification is planning for their infrastructure. This includes deploying an ecosystem of convenient public and private chargers and considering EVs in power system and mobility planning.

Then successfully integrating EVs into the power system at both grid-wide and local levels will require a diverse array of technological solutions. The impacts are likely to vary greatly and regulatory and market changes also may be required.

“Achieving fully integrated mobility and power systems requires unprecedented co-ordination between charging infrastructure, the power system as a whole and EVs, including rewards for demand side flexibility,” the report states. “Looking at each of these components in isolation may lead to missed opportunities.”

The report may be viewed here.