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New Technologies in Sustainable Grid Infrastructure

Posted 02/08/2023

For decades, Americans have relied on electricity for light, heat, and cooking. Future generations will increasingly rely on the grid to power their vehicles. Consequently, power grid stability and resilience have caught the public’s attention as the demand for electricity and energy-consuming technologies continues to rise. One question we are hearing with greater frequency is how smoothly can the electricity grid accommodate the growing number of electric vehicles. The Biden Administration has set a goal that 50% of vehicles sold in 2030 should be electric. In 2021 Congress passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to allocate funding for electric vehicle infrastructure through states’ transportation departments. According to the U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center, the United States has around 50,000 public EV charging stations—far short of what is needed to support the Administration’s 2030 target. To meet the need for electric vehicle chargers, $5 billion over five years has been allocated to states to build their EV infrastructure networks. While demand for power will increase with the growth of EV adoption and EV charging, several electric vehicle charging companies have been working on many new technologies and solutions that will provide greater stability to reduce strain on the electricity grid.

Emerging Technologies

Here is a quick look at a few emerging technologies and advances in EV charging that can support grid stability:

Smart Charging

Smart chargers are an affordable and easily implemented solution to reduce energy use and provide cost savings. EV chargers such as the Blink HQ 200 Smart Home Charger allow the consumer to select charging times which can be set to off-peak rate hours. Off-peak charging not only offers cheaper charging for consumers but also ensures charging happens when demand on the grid is not at its peak. This promotes grid resilience using low-demand hours for EV charging power.

Bidirectional Chargers

Traditional EV chargers supply energy in one direction from the power supply to your vehicle. New bidirectional chargers charge the vehicle from the power grid and then can convert that power to be used in a home or be sent back to the grid. Bidirectional chargers, such as Blink’s newly announced EQ 200 charger, support grid stability through Vehicle to Grid (V2G) and Vehicle to Home (V2H) processes. In the Vehicle to Grid scenario, an electric vehicle can charge during off-peak hours when demand on the energy grid is lower. If needed, electric vehicles can plug into bidirectional chargers to provide power back to the grid during peak hours when energy use is in high demand. Bidirectional charging not only can offer a homeowner cheaper charging in off-peak hours but also provide another source of energy from their EV battery to power their home during power outages.

Solar Canopy Chargers with Battery Storage

Another innovative technology comes in the form of bidirectional chargers that use solar canopies and battery storage. To supplement chargers powered directly by the grid or for use in remote locations, charging stations connected to solar canopies return electricity to the grid through bidirectional charging paired with battery storage using renewable energy.  Energy that is not used for charging electric vehicles can be stored in a battery, making these chargers more resilient while increasing the available power supply for the grid. At present, this technology is not as affordable or powerful as grid-connected chargers, but it does provide alternative options for specific use cases. As the demand for EV chargers continues to increase, consumers can rest assured EV infrastructure will not only be beneficial for the environment but also will continue to improve while making the power grid more resilient.

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