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Grid Integration of Electric Vehicles

Supporting transportation electrification while maintaining reliable and affordable electricity supply

The Challenge

The large-scale integration of electric vehicles will greatly change the distribution of electricity demand For example, widespread electric vehicle charging could lead to extremely high midday electricity demand at commercial parking facilities, or evening demand for residential charging. Without proper planning, these shifts in demand can lead to local voltage fluctuations and system stability issues or regional line congestion and electricity prices spikes. Additional distribution, transmission, and generation infrastructure may be required to support the efficient and reliable integration of electric vehicles into the grid.

However, electric vehicles present an opportunity for the grid as well. While charging they can provide a range of system benefits through the provision of grid services, operating reserves, and demand response. These benefits will becoming increasingly important as the grid continues to integrate more variable wind and solar generation. Furthermore, electric vehicle owners can make the energy stored in their batteries available to grid operators during times of extreme electricity demand, with appropriate compensation, helping to avoid outages and reduce electricity costs.

Argonne’s Approach

Argonne researchers are currently developing a number of methods to inform the fundamental changes in how our electric systems are planned and operated that may be required as electric vehicles continue to grow in popularity. Some examples include:

  • Generating synthetic electric vehicle charging demand profiles for different electric vehicle adoption scenarios.
  • Conducting advanced analyses of the distribution system to understand the reliability impacts of different system upgrades across a range of electric vehicle scenarios.
  • Conducting advanced analysis of the transmission system, to optimize both long-term investments in new generation and transmission infrastructure and short-term grid operations while leveraging both charging flexibility and two-way vehicle-to-grid capabilities.
  • Developing new methods to coordinate planning and operations across both the distribution and transmission system to ensure system reliability and affordability.
  • Developing new models to optimize the location of electric vehicle charging stations considering traffic patterns and demand for different modes of charging infrastructure.