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March 30, 2011

Tackling Smart Grid Challenges Arising from EV Adoption



GTM research is a Greentech Media company that provides timely market analysis in the form of market research reports, monthly newsletters and strategic consulting services. Its latest smart grid report, “The Networked EV: The Convergence (News - Alert) of Smart Grids and Electric Vehicles,” focuses on the impact that electric vehicle adoption will have on the grid and the kind of focus shift that this will trigger.

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Smart grid hardware, software and communications vendors view the electric vehicle market as very promising. Many factors are responsible for this. Rising oil prices, auto-industry advances and load requirements on existing grids have driven the market to search for viable alternatives and GRM forecasts indicate that cumulative global electric vehicle sales will touch 3.8 million by 2016. This in turn is expected to trigger wide adoption of distribution automation technologies, vehicle-to-grid communications, and new software applications.

However, according to report author and GTM research's senior manager of the smart grid, David J. Leeds, there are challenges that utilities will face due to the introduction of electric vehicles and these, unfortunately, are not very well understood.

Leeds went on to add that over the next decade ensuring adequate distribution grid reliability appeared to be the principle challenge related to the initial rollout of electric vehicles and ensuring a variety of related control ad protection issues would entail a large investment in smart grid technologies, especially communications and distribution automation.

This in turn, Leeds said, would turn the focus on to the face of electric vehicles, the charging station. Major vendors are planning to roll out their respective electric charging equipment in 2011. However, as the concept gains momentum, more public stations and Level 2 home chargers also need to be introduced. The focus of investment will again change and attention will be diverted to generation of dynamic grid devices and the communication networks that support such devices.

The implications for electric power players and utilities are enormous, as commercial EV adoption will increase the load on existing electric power infrastructure. Utilities are looking at smart grid technology solutions to ensure the reliability of the grid.


Mini Swamy is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard
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