Reductions in the carbon intensity of electricity generation, coupled with technological improvements in the end uses that it can power, have created opportunities for the electrification of large segments of the economy. As the largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in our economy — 29% of total 2017 U.S. energy-related emissions — electrifying transportation is a key opportunity. Although the technology needed to decarbonize ground transportation exists today, an affordable and reliable transition will require a focus on policy and regulatory changes. Accommodating and correctly managing this growth in electric transportation will be critical to the development of a low-carbon future. If not properly planned for through direct and indirect charging controls, this new load could produce major impacts on the power system and its operations. However, managed correctly, EVs can serve as a useful tool and asset for grid managers and can be accommodated even under aggressive EV adoption models.

This article (subscription or purchase required) was part of a special issue of Electricity Journal on the topic of energy optimization, guest-edited by RAP staff.