What Will EV’s do to the Grid? It is time to find out.

When I read this article last week, Stanford engineers warn that electric car charging could crash a grid powered by renewable energy, I also had the luck of meeting with Steve Warner the VP of Corporate Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives and Meredith Crichton the Executive Director at Clemson’s Restoration Institute here in Charleston.  Now you may be asking what does some institute in Charleston have to do with the grid and EV’s.  Well in addition to housing the most advanced wind turbine testing facility in the US the institute also has a unique ability to simulate a wide range of grid conditions with real hardware not just software modeling.

The Dominion Energy Innovation Center is best known as the home of two large scale wind turbine test beds but it is also home to the Duke Energy eGrid 15 MW HIL Grid Simulator that provides a complete suite of electrical testing solutions to the power conversion industry as a whole (not just the wind industry) at the multi-megawatt level.

So if we want to know what EV’s are going to do to the grid then why don’t we do the testing needed to understand what is coming.  Let’s find out what changes we will need to make to the grid to provide the resiliency that we expect and require.  It’s time to invest in the next level of computer simulation and modeling along with the physical experience that hardware in the loop testing provides.

EV’s are starting to scale, not someday, right now.  If we don’t want to disappoint EV owners, disrupt utilities and grid operators or just roll the dice that this is all going to work out then we need to do the testing needed to provide confidence built on data not on opinions or hope.  I think this institute is a great place to start with almost $100MM already invested and deep industry support from key OEM’s and Utilities there is a lot to recommend the Duke Energy eGRID.