Electric cars could help co-ops control peaks

Many electric co-ops can already turn off a member’s air conditioning and hot water heater to reduce peak demand and save money. The next step in load control could involve electric cars. That idea is already in the works.

Eight automakers, the Electric Power Research Institute and 15 utilities are teaming up to develop a ­communications platform to allow electric cars and ­utilities to “talk” to each other, via the cloud.

The implications could be huge. For example, if your co-op needed to shed load on a peak day, it would be able to contact the electric car and instruct it to temporarily stop charging.

“This project is an important step in enabling plug-in vehicles to reach their potential as a valuable ­distributed resource that can increase grid ­stability, improve power ­quality and reduce demand peaks,” said Steven Center, Vice President of the Environmental Business Development Office at American Honda.

At NRECA’s Cooperative Research Network, Brian Sloboda, Senior Program Manager, noted that, “Co-ops are ­interested in this type of ­tech­nology, but they are not ­waiting on auto­makers to help craft a ­solution. Several co-ops are ­developing rate structures to encourage car ­owners to charge off-peak. Most cars come equipped with the ability to be ­programed to charge during certain times,” Sloboda said.

But he also pointed out that this technology is primarily important for people using the faster 240-volt Level 2 chargers.

Source: Electric Co-op Today