The Future Of Distribution Networks
- Aug 30, 2022 1:08 am GMT
This item is part of the Electrification of Transportation - August 2022 SPECIAL ISSUE, click here for more
In a timely blog posted on 27 June 2022, Meredith Fowlie, a professor at Univ. of California, Berkeley Energy Institute points out that “The local power lines and substations that deliver electricity to our homes and businesses may seem dull and pedestrian. But this infrastructure has a critical role to play in the clean energy transition. If electric vehicles (EVs) and building electrification drive electricity demand peaks into uncharted territory, system upgrades will be needed.” She adds,” How many, and at what cost, has been impossible to assess given a dearth of data.”
Referring to the research by Elmallah, Brockway, and Callaway (EBC) who examined circuit-level data on load hosting capacity with neighborhood-specific estimates of the load increases for one large investor-owned utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), one can see what happens at the local distribution level “… as more electric cars and electric heating appliances plug into the grid.” It is not an academic question and as she points out billions of dollars of investment will be required to maintain, upgrade and modernize the network – depending on how well or poorly this growth is managed.
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