Electric cars may soon rev up electricity demand, boosting utilities that have been mired with flat demand in recent years, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Research from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates during the next three decades, demand from electric vehicles could provide sustained growth of 80 terawatt-hours per year. By 2050, demand for electricity could grow by as much as 38 percent, according to NREL.
The electric vehicle trend continues to keep rolling. An estimated 7 million electric cars will be on the U.S. roads by 2025, and electric vehicles will account for 3 percent of all car sales, according to Edison Electric Institute and the Institute for Electric Innovation.
With about 5 million charge ports needed to fulfill the increasing needs of the electric vehicle market, utility companies will likely need to dramatically increase infrastructure investment.
“As Good Energy works with cities and towns on community energy aggregation programs and to implement renewable energy initiatives, we’re seeing an increased interest desire for car-charge ports and zero-emission transportation alternatives,” says Javier Barrios, Managing Partner of the New York City-based Good Energy. “It’s exciting to see the changes in consumer demand and the utilities’ response.”
The NREL also found that an increase in electricity demand may also dramatically shift load shapes with an increasing role of electric heat pumps for winter and water heating. The report concluded that shifts in peak demand could have significant impacts on electric utility planning, grid operations, reliability assessments, and overall electricity markets.