“The key to our approach is to break up the request for power from each car into multiple small chunks — into packets”
Selecting a Chevy Volt, Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf — or one of many other new models — shoppers in the United States bought more than 96,000 plug-in electric cars in 2013. That’s a tiny slice of the auto market, but it’s up eighty-four percent from the year before. In Vermont, as of January 2014, there were 679 plug-in vehicles, according to the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation. That’s two hundred percent growth over 2013.
This is good news in terms of oil consumption and air pollution. But, of course, every plug-in has to be, well, plugged in. And this growing fleet will put a lot of new strain on the nation’s aging electrical distribution systems, like transformers and underground cables, especially at times of peak demand — say, six in the evening when people come home from work.
How to manage all these cars seeking a socket at the same time — without crashing the grid or pushing rates to the roof — has some utilities wondering, if not downright worried.
Now a team of UVM scientists have created a novel solution, which they report on in the forthcoming March issue of IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, a journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Put it in a packet
“The key to our approach is to break up the request for power from each car into multiple small chunks — into packets,” says Jeff Frolik, a professor in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences and co-author on the new study.
By using the nation’s growing network of “smart meters” — a new generation of household electric meters that communicate information back-and-forth between a house and the utility — the new approach would let a car charge for, say, five or ten minutes at a time. And then the car would “get back into the line,” Frolik says, and make another request for power. If demand was low, it would continue charging, but if it was high, the car would have to wait.
“The vehicle doesn’t care. And, most of the time, as long as people get charged by morning, they won’t care either,” says UVM’s Paul Hines, an expert on power systems and co-author on the study. “By charging cars in this way, it’s really easy to let everybody share the capacity that is available on the grid.”
Taking a page out of how radio and internet communications are distributed, the team’s strategy will allow electric utilities to spread out the demand from plug-in cars over the whole day and night. The information from the smart meter prevents the grid from being overloaded. “And the problem of peaks and valleys is becoming more pronounced as we get more intermittent power — wind and solar — in the system,” says Hines. “There is a growing need to smooth out supply and demand.”
At the same time, the UVM teams’ invention — patent pending — would protect a car owner’s privacy. A charge management device could be located at the level of, for example, a neighborhood substation. It would assess local strain on the grid. If demand wasn’t too high, it would randomly distribute “charge-packets” of power to those households that were putting in requests.
“Our solution is decentralized,” says Pooya Rezaei, a doctoral student working with Hines and the lead author on the new paper. “The utility doesn’t know who is charging.”
Instead, the power would be distributed by a computer algorithm called an “automaton” that is the technical heart of the new approach. The automaton is driven by rising and falling probabilities, which means everyone would eventually get a turn — but the utility wouldn’t know, or need to know, a person’s driving patterns or what house was receiving power when.
The Latest on: Electric Grid
via Google News
The Latest on: Electric Grid
- Texas Lawmakers Weighing Financial Rescue for Power Gridon March 6, 2021 at 4:00 am
Texas leaders have held multiple talks with financial institutions as lawmakers weigh options for easing the liquidity crisis facing the state’s power market following last month’s energy crisis.
- Will ERCOT grid disaster lead to higher electricity rates for Texans?on March 5, 2021 at 8:54 pm
Unanticipated expenses incurred by power generators and distributors during the recent weather emergency are reverberating through the ERCOT market.
- Texas power grid operator overcharged companies $16B during winter freezeon March 5, 2021 at 6:56 am
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas made a massive error that resulted in $16 billion in overcharges last month when millions of residents were left without power after a historic winter storm, ...
- Texas power grid names firms with unpaid bills, cuts off secondon March 5, 2021 at 4:27 am
Texas' power grid operator on Wednesday cited 12 energy companies and two municipal utilities for failure to pay their bills for power and services during February's deadly blackout that has led to ...
- Texas monitor says state power-grid operator overcharged $16 billion in electricity bills during power outageson March 4, 2021 at 9:39 pm
The report also recommended that the inflated charges be reversed, and the Public Utility Commission will discuss actions on Friday.
- Texas power grid CEO fired in wake of last month's fatal blackoutson March 4, 2021 at 7:30 pm
Bill Magness, CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, was fired on Wednesday in the wake of February's deadly blackouts that left millions without electricity and heat in freezing ...
- Texas power grid operator ERCOT says outgoing CEO will not seek severance payon March 4, 2021 at 4:00 pm
Texas' power grid operator Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said on Thursday outgoing Chief Executive Bill Magness informed the ERCOT board he will not seek or accept severance pay.
- CEO of Texas power grid operator terminated in aftermath of stormon March 4, 2021 at 5:01 am
The board overseeing the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the independent nonprofit entity that operates and manages the electricity grid that covers much of Texas, fired ERCOT CEO Bill Magness.
- House Oversight panel investigates Texas power grid operator after devastating stormon March 4, 2021 at 4:08 am
The House Oversight Committee is investigating the agency that operates the Texas power grid, seeking information and documents about the lack of preparation for the recent winter storm that caused ...
- Texas power grid CEO Bill Magness getting fired in wake of deadly blackoutson March 4, 2021 at 3:26 am
Approaching ouster of Bill Magness comes after last month's outages left millions without power and head in frigid temperatures.
via Bing News