Electric Vehicles and the Grid - Carolina Country

Electric Vehicles and the Grid

What will power all those new cars?

Electric Vehicles and the Grid

Q: An article about electric vehicles in my co-op’s news section of the August 2019 issue caused me to wonder about how [electric co-ops] and the electric grid are going to support the addition of electric cars, especially if the industry is attempting to move away from gas to electric vehicles. I get emails and messages from Piedmont Electric requesting that I conserve energy, especially on hot days. If I have to conserve energy now, what will it be like with hundreds of thousands of electric cars added to the grid? Wouldn’t this result in increased energy consumption and the utility having to upgrade its infrastructure, which would result in added costs for the utility and its members?

I must not be the only one that wonders about this.

Brandon Parrott, Timberlake, A member of Piedmont Electric

A: Great question! First off, while we encourage members to save during peak times, this is to hold the cost down for all members — Piedmont Electric and electric co-ops across the state are fully capable of meeting our members’ energy needs during peak times. We encourage members to shift energy from on-peak to off-peak to better utilize our resources and thus save money all around.

Electric vehicles (EVs) present an interesting opportunity, in that most EV owners charge their cars at night. Some utilities, including Piedmont Electric, even offer incentivized rates to do so. This is when power use overall is very low, so making more use of the grid at this time is a more efficient use of the infrastructure that’s already in place.

Brandon Reed, manager of Member Services & Public Relations for Piedmont Electric

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