IS THERE ENOUGH JUICE?

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - News - Tim Sheehan: 559-441-6319; Twit­ter: @TimShee­hanNews.

If Cal­i­for­ni­ans make the switch to elec­tric ve­hi­cles in the num­bers ex­pected by the state, what will that mean for elec­tric­ity sup­plies?

Gopal said it shouldn’t be a con­cern. “On the over­all power grid sys­tem, 5 mil­lion is not go­ing to be a prob­lem what­so­ever,” he told The Bee.

It’s when peo­ple charge their cars at home in the evening af­ter a day of com­mut­ing that con­cerns pol­icy an­a­lysts. “If peo­ple drive home and im­me­di­ately plug in, that co­in­cides with sun­set,” Gopal said. “As Cal­i­for­nia is in­creas­ing the amount of so­lar power on the grid, that’s in­creas­ing the load at the same time that so­lar re­sources are fall­ing in the evening. It’s a prob­lem for the ramp­ing rate of de­mand on util­i­ties while re­new­able gen­er­a­tion is fall­ing down.”

If any­thing, it will be neigh­bor­hood dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tems – power lines and trans­form­ers – that util­i­ties will need to man­age. “Those lines are the ones that are go­ing to have a higher draw,” Gopal said. If one fam­ily on a block buys an elec­tric car, he said, hu­man na­ture is other neigh­bors tend to fol­low suit. “The util­i­ties need to have a plan to en­sure there’s enough ca­pac­ity on those lines.”

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