Modeling Exercise of Smart Charging in the Mid-Atlantic
Spurred by improved technologies, among other things, electric vehicles (EVs) are rapidly gaining automotive market share. However, utility providers and power grid operators have concerns that increased EV use may strain existing power grids, particularly because most people charge their vehicles when they are home during off-peak hours.
One way to mitigate potential strain on the power grid is to use of “smart charging.” Smart charging is a form of intermittent charging that uses information technology to monitor vehicle charging needs in real-time. Based on this information power grid operators distribute more electricity to the areas with the highest charging needs, while reducing electricity distribution to areas of lowest charging need. However, power grid operators have not widely tested these systems.
A research team modeled smart charging systems to estimate the potential benefits of these systems. To do this the team first developed an optimized model of smart charging in the abstract. Then the team gathered “real electricity demand and supply data from PJM Interconnection.” PJM Interconnection is a regional power transmission organization that serves the Mid-Atlantic region including Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina etc. Finally, the team applied the optimized smart charging models to a model real-world electricity grid.
By modeling one of the largest electricity markets in the United States, researchers demonstrated that compared to current practice, limiting smart charging to peak demand days can lead to approximately 20 percent cost savings and a 15 percent reduction in CO2 emissions during a typical summer month.