IS THERE ENOUGH JUICE?
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.”