Plug-in hybrid vehicle effects on New York electric grid to be studied


Albany, NY, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — August 14, 2009 – A new engineering study is to be conducted on the effects that plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) might have on New York’s electrical grid by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

The study will complement a parallel national study that both organizations are also involved in, along with the Ford Motor Company.

EPRI will conduct a comprehensive study to assess the energy, environmental and wholesale market electricity price impacts of PHEVs in New York State. Of particular interest is the impact on downstate, metropolitan New York grids due to the concentrated electric demand and vehicle population. It is anticipated that the study will illuminate the implications of, and help plan for, the increased market penetration of PHEVs.

Francis J. Murray, Jr., NYSERDA president and CEO, said this effort comes at a crucial time.

“This study will offer insight into the supply side of the market where capacity is necessary to achieve wide public acceptance of these vehicles. Governor Paterson has called for advancing battery technology in New York and specifically PHEVs as a way to reduce our use of fossil fuel and complement grid usage. PHEVs can serve as a high value customer for wind power by recharging overnight when demand and rates are low, and wind power is most plentiful,” said Murray.

PHEV technologies allow vehicles to plug into the electric grid to charge their high capacity batteries and allow the vehicle’s electric motor to do more of the work during the drive cycle, and thereby reduce the gasoline engine’s workload. As PHEV penetration levels increase, the aggregated impact on the grid and associated emissions could be substantial. While the implications of increased penetration of PHEVs have been studied generally on a national level and in several more localized regions, the specific impact to New York State has not yet been fully understood.

Four aspects will be addressed in the study – identification of the “base case” scenario of transmission/distribution capacity, assuming no PHEV penetration; identification of several realistic PHEV penetration scenarios, including vehicle characteristics and required load support; identification of grid, environmental, and financial impacts of the various penetration scenarios; and implications of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) applications, also known as utility aggregated load control.

"Our analysis will develop the definitive assessment of the impact of both introducing and the widespread use of PHEVs onto the transmission and distribution systems,” said Arshad Mansoor, vice president of Power Delivery and Utilization at EPRI. “This grid assessment is another crucial step that will lead to commercialization of PHEVs.”

In parallel with the grid impact study, NYSERDA is partnering with EPRI and Ford Motor Company to test a Ford PHEV prototype. Over the course of this project, which is slated to run into 2012, various components onboard the prototype will be revised to test various technical options, including V2G capabilities. Several utility companies in New York State and elsewhere also are participating in this program.

NYSERDA began exploring PHEV technology in 2006 as a way to reduce the gasoline consumption of vehicles operated by New York State agencies. Efforts to date have included procurement and testing of standard gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles, such as the Ford Escape and Toyota Prius, that third-party vendors have converted to PHEV operation. Based on a review of six different prototypes, one configuration has thus far been validated for further implementation and five Prius PHEVs incorporating this design are now in operation at various New York State agencies. This program may eventually encompass up to 600 vehicles.