KEMA, CenterPoint Energy find low electric vehicle impact on Houston grid

Burlington, Ma., October 14, 2010 — KEMA and CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric issued findings of a joint study on the impact of electric vehicle adoption on the transmission and distribution system in the Houston area.

The report, “Electric Vehicles in Houston: Motivations, Trends, and Distribution System Impacts,” is part of CenterPoint Energy‘s efforts to support development of the EV market in the Houston area and prepare itself to address potential impacts on its T&D system.

“For the last several years, CenterPoint Energy has worked with industry groups and major automotive manufacturers such as Ford and General Motors to study the potential impact of EVs on the electric delivery system,” said Scott Prochazka, division senior vice president of Electric Operations for CenterPoint Energy. “As these vehicles are produced in greater numbers, we’re committed to making certain our system will support their entry into our market.”

Overall, the study determined that system-wide impacts from EVs are likely to be relatively minimal within the next decade, with additional peak load growing by no more than 5 percent.

However, the localized impact of EVs, including excessive transformer loads, is of more concern. In particular, the analysis shows potential clustering of EVs, which can result in high EV loads at a given transformer.

Low charging levels during off-peak periods could notably limit overloading. However, as the number of EVs increases and the charging levels rise over the next ten years, transformer overloading is highly probable for certain regions of CenterPoint Energy’s territory. Careful management of EV loads could potentially mitigate such impacts.

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