William R. Moroney,
UTC president &
chief executive
Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — April 29, 2011 – Energy usage attributable to electric vehicles (EVs) could rise 1,700% by 2020, according to a report authored by utility management consulting firm The Shpigler Group for the Utilities Telecom Council (UTC).

The study finds that annual usage from EVs could grow from only 146,000 MWh in 2010 to 2.6 million MWh by 2020, raising a host of technological and operational issues for the nation’s electric utilities, particularly when it comes to modernizing and upgrading utility communications and information technology.

Nevertheless this growth in usage could lead to as much as a 61-fold annual reduction in CO2 emissions from 2010 to 2020, with almost 2.6 million tons in emissions reductions that year, according to the study.

The study finds that to accommodate this shift in electricity usage, a number of key issues must be addressed. These include improved battery performance, continued exploration of vehicle-to-grid technology that can utilize EV batteries as grid storage devices, and the infrastructure innovations that support the peak load changes that EVs will introduce to the grid. Chief among the innovations are improvements in communications and IT technologies, which are needed to better plan and operate the electric delivery system, particularly meter data and network management systems.

“Ensuring grid reliability with hundreds of thousands of new electric vehicles plugging in every day will require a significant expansion of utilities existing communications and control networks,” noted UTC president and chief executive, William R. Moroney.

Other issues that need to be addressed, according to the study, include the true potential of EVs for the industry, the affordability of batteries, and the range of EVs. Utilities also will need to consider how they can participate in the market for recharging services, and whether they can realistically ever use EVs as storage devices.