Blink Charging recently announced our first battery energy storage system (also referred to as a BES system or BESS) in Pennsylvania that includes four direct current fast chargers (DCFCs). This innovative electric vehicle (EV) charging station will be beneficial to both drivers and businesses that want to host DCFC charging stations. Here’s what battery storage means for you.
What is a battery energy storage system?
In 2030, McKinsey estimates that there may be as many as 48 million EVs plugging into the US power grid, which means that utility providers are already preparing for the increased load. And while the same analysts estimate that 60% of charging will still take place at home or work, public parking and fleet depots will require more powerful DC fast chargers for charging on-the-go. While Vehicle to Grid (V2G) is one proposed solution for grid resiliency, a battery energy storage system is another exciting opportunity to add additional storage to the grid.
A BES system is a solution for businesses that want to store energy for later use. Some businesses use BESS to store power generated by solar panels for use in the evening or during a power outage. A new version of this technology combines a large battery with a number of DCFCs. The system draws power from the electricity grid to charge its battery during off-peak utility hours, and then uses the stored energy from the battery to charge EVs.
On-peak and off-peak energy hours
Electricity usage in the United States generally follows well-established patterns throughout the year and over the course of an average day, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Usage is highest in summer and winter when people are using air conditioning and heaters, respectively, and it’s lowest in spring and autumn when people have less cooling and heating needs. Throughout the day, electricity usage spikes in the afternoon in summer and in both the morning and afternoon in winter.
According to the EIA, “the electricity industry places usage periods into two categories: on-peak hours that generally refer to the hours beginning at 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. on weekdays, and off-peak hours that are between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. on weekdays and all day on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.” Peak energy usage roughly follows the 9-5 business hours when people are awake and HVAC units are running. Conversely, off-peak utility rates include evenings, overnight, weekends, and holidays when people are asleep or most businesses are closed. Because there is more demand on the electricity grid during peak hours, electricity rates are higher than during off-peak hours.
Off-peak energy savings with BESS
Having an onsite battery energy storage system can save both drivers and site hosts money. While electricity prices are generally cheaper and less volatile than gasoline, plugging in more EVs means that electrical demand will increase. BES systems store energy that can be used during the more expensive on-peak hours of the day.
Blink’s BESS can capture and store energy from the electricity grid during off-peak hours when electricity rates are lower, and then provide it to drivers during peak-usage times when electricity rates from the grid are higher. This helps offset the cost of demand fees.
Let’s consider a site host that has a DCFC that is connected directly to the electricity grid. While the local electricity rate was $0.1749kWh last year, a heat wave has increased the cost to $0.1927kWh this year. This host uses 6,000kWh per month, which means that their monthly electrical bill has increased from $1,049.40 to $1,156.20. In order to not lose money, the site host must now pass the price increase along to any EV drivers using the chargers.
Installing a BESS can help this customer save money by drawing power from the grid during off-peak hours and storing it for use during peak hours. Rather than increasing the kWh fee for charging an electric vehicle during the work day, the site host can keep its lower price throughout the day and pass the energy savings to you, the driver, regardless of what time you plug-in.
But BES systems help the utility, too. Because the systems provide backup power and increase storage, they help stabilize the electrical grid. In addition to saving EV drivers money for commercial charging, these large-scale storage systems can provide power to the building during blackout conditions when there is no electricity available from the grid. Fleet operators in particular can trust that they can charge their vehicles and continue operations, without their routes being affected by an electrical outage.
Blink Charging and BESS
Blink Charging has installed our first battery energy storage system in Philadelphia, but we’re not done yet. We’re bringing the Blink Charging BESS to up to 25 sites across Florida, some of which will include solar canopies to draw power from solar energy.
With our new battery energy storage systems, Blink is making it more affordable for drivers to drive electric vehicles and more affordable for site hosts to operate DCFCs.
Are you a facility manager? Blink provides powerful Level 2 and DC fast chargers to businesses and fleets. Click here to learn more about hosting Blink EV charging stations.