- Anticipating a crush of new electric vehicles plugging into the grid over the next 10 years, Oracle Utilities says it is developing new technology that would allow utilities to detect the presence of EVs on their system, disaggregating the energy and analyzing daily charging patterns.
- The technology, which utilizes advanced metering infrastructure, aims to help utilities engage with customers and offer time-of-use charging plans.
- The International Energy Agency predicts that rapid EV adoption could mean 125 million emissions-free vehicles on global roads by 2030. That will lead to modest peak demand growth in aggregate, but could also create hotspots of demand that cause problems for utilities.
Utilities will see peak demand growth as more customers adopt electric vehicles, though it is generally expected to be small. McKinsey research in Germany predicts a peak load growth of 5% by 2050 — but concluded pockets of charging could send peaks far higher, making it essential for utilities to have system visibility and be prepared to manage and smooth demand.
Oracle says its "trained data models" can be deployed for specific homes, allowing utilities to find EVs on its grid, locate pockets where they are clustered and understand how customers are charging.
"As such, utilities will be able to better plan for and manage the operational impact of EVs as a new distributed energy resource on the grid," the company said.
Most major auto manufacturers are rolling out new EV models and adoption is beginning to pick up, meaning the "window of time for utilities to act is closing," according to Oracle Senior Vice President Dan Byrnes.
He says the company's analytic capabilities provide essential information for utilities "to make needed assessments on grid investments and in tandem, work as trusted advisors to customers who may be in the dark as to how owning an EV is impacting their energy footprint and bill."
The shift toward electrified transportation has been discussed for years, but the next few years may be critical.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts EVs will represent 28% of global light-duty vehicle sales sometime shortly after 2025 — a faster growth pace than the firm previously expected. The Edison Electric Institute, which represents U.S. investor-owned utilities, projects 7 million zero-emission vehicles on U.S. roads by 2025.
"Rapid growth in investment interest from car manufacturers is a confirmation of the future consumer demand" for EVs, Ben Kellison, director, grid research at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, said in a statement. Faced with an increasingly clean and decentralized system, he said utilities "need new data and analytic packages to support a new planning paradigm."