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How Electric Vehicles Impact the Utility Grid

As environmental concerns occupy the world's consciousness, alternate energy solutions once thought impossible are becoming a reality. Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels is a major component of many of these solutions. The push for electric vehicles (EVs) is not only realistic but will soon be a fact of life. Countries including the United States have enacted legislation forcing automakers to replace the types of cars and trucks we have used for over a century with EVs. Instead of fueling EVs up at gas stations, charging the new answers to an old problem will theoretically reduce fossil fuel use. Charging stations will supplement gas stations and eventually replace them.

However, the electricity to charge EVs must come from somewhere. Enter our country's utility grid.

With mass EV adoption on its way, can our power grid handle the new demand for electricity? Using renewable energy can lighten the load on our country's power grid, but can the current infrastructure withstand increased use and still deliver electricity to homes and businesses like before?

Organizations like the California Energy Commission have begun to plan for grid-friendly load growth to help meet the electricity demands for utilities. These plans might require expensive research and renewal investments. Time plays a crucial factor since the deadline for automakers to change their production practices is only a few years from now.

Can Grid Hardening Save the Utility Grid?

The country's grid must be improved and strengthened to prevent power outages that will affect everyone. Electrified transportation can only be effective if the energy is readily available. Home and business utilities can only work if they have power, too. Although EVs can reduce toxic emissions, they can also create other burdens.

Grid hardening, the practice that can protect utility services, is essential in this monumental era of change. Assessing utility grid risks and addressing those issues before they get out of control can reduce the adverse impact of electric vehicles.

Utility providers can choose a strong poles material like concrete or steel to keep power lines where they need to be. They can also cut vegetation that grows too close to poles and lines. One strong wind can knock a tree into lines, cutting power to consumers. However, burying utility lines can better solve this issue. However, this option is not always feasible.

Two more grid hardening practices involve reinforcing existing poles and lines with weather-resistant coatings and elevating substations. Weather plays a major role in destroying the electric infrastructure. Wind, rain, floods, and more can eat away at wooden poles and blow down lines. Protecting the physical components can help the infrastructure stand strong during a severe weather event.

What Else Can Save the Utility Grid?

In addition to grid hardening, utility providers are considering other ways to save the country's electric grid. One method is managed charging, which lets providers stop or permit EV charging depending on the grid's state. For example, if there is not enough supply at the time of charging, the provider can not allow charging until the supply is replenished. As of now, managed charging is designed to be performed with the EV's owner's consent.

Managed charging can come in handy when an organization like a transit agency needs to charge multiple vehicles at once. For instance, if 50 electric buses need charging before being deployed, then the utility provider can halt charging if the simultaneous demand is too much on the local grid. The buses are just some of the things that need electricity. Other electric cars and private and public use cases need electricity, making providers search for ways to make sure there is enough energy to go around.

Turn to Blackwood Solutions

Can electric vehicles charge without creating outages for other consumers?

With a future forecast to see charging stations replacing gas pumps and a million EVs on the road, now is the time for providers to upgrade and maintain their electric utilities infrastructure. Vehicle grid integration does not have to spell disaster for aging infrastructure if providers practice grid-hardening measures. More work for utility providers means more work for project managers like you. Hopefully, this means more work for us.

We own a fleet of trucks with attached grapples that our drivers can use to load, transport, and unload utility poles and other oversized materials. We hire drivers who have demonstrated excellent driving habits and experience with our specialized trucks. You can rely on their expertise when you need your equipment to be delivered safely and on time.

We also strive to keep up with the changes facing the utility industry. We recently built a utility transload yard to help project managers meet their deadlines with minimal headaches. A transload yard is where utility materials can be stored, managed, and dispatched. For example, if you need concrete poles on a certain date and they arrive early, you can have us store and monitor them at our transload yard until you need us to deliver them to your job site.

You can take advantage of this service when you want your project to stay within budget, be completed as scheduled, and be as hassle-free as possible. You can also pursue our other services that might perfectly complement your projects:

  • Pipeline, utility right-of-way, and land clearing: We are equipped with a variety of loading, grinding, shredding, screening, and hauling equipment.

  • Wood and fuel supply management: We can supply wood fuel from crossties, wood poles, and wood vegetation.

  • Wood pole, pallet, reel, and concrete recycling: We can design a sustainable recycling and disposal program that can align with your goals.

The future will be upon us before we realize it. Preparing now is crucial in keeping up with sweeping changes that will either knock us down or breeze around us. When it comes to transitioning to a new mode of transportation, the utility industry is well on its way. We can help it cross the finish line. Contact us today to soften the impact of your grid hardening projects.



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