Electric vehicles (EVs) are commonly viewed as a crucial mechanism to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, increase energy security, and improve air quality. Widespread adoption of EVs also represents an opportunity for energy utilities and consumers.
On April 30, 2015, the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) and Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) offered a webinar to explore the benefits of EVs and highlight successful EV programs from across the U.S. Riley Allen, director of research at RAP, Karen Glitman, director of policy and public affairs at VEIC, and Justine Sears, a consultant at VEIC, led a lively discussion of the future of EVs. Topics included:
- Generating additional revenue for utilities: EVs are a substantial source of new demand and revenue for utilities. New sources of revenue can lead to increased margins, profitability, and ultimately lower rates. The bulk of EV-induced demand is expected to occur during off-peak hours, filling in nighttime valleys and improving system efficiency.
- Managing load and smoothing net load for cost reduction: EVs offer new opportunities to implement demand response and peak shaving programs, reducing overall system operating costs.
- Improving system reliability: EVs have recognized potential to serve as distributed storage resources during emergency response, as well as the ability to provide ancillary grid services to wholesale energy markets.
- New business opportunities for utilities and others: EVs offer new value-added opportunities for the electricity system. System operators and utilities can create new or enhanced roles for ESCOs and aggregators to capture the value of EVs.