The New Zealand Government could significantly reduce its carbon footprint and improve public health outcomes simply by ensuring its own vehicle fleet is electric, an international expert suggests. Andres Carvallo, also known internationally as The Godfather of …New Zealand needs more EVs and smart grids, says The Godfather
The New Zealand Government could significantly reduce its carbon footprint and improve public health outcomes simply by ensuring its own vehicle fleet is electric, an international expert suggests.
Andres Carvallo, also known internationally as The Godfather of smart grids, says if the government replaced its vehicles with an electric fleet it would help New Zealand meet its Paris Agreement commitments while guaranteeing benefits across a multitude of sectors, including health advantages.
The increased use of electric vehicles (EVs) would need to be underpinned by the introduction of smart grid technology, Mr Carvallo said.
Using two-way digital communications, a smart grid is an electricity network which saves energy, reduces costs and increases reliability and transparency.
Mr Carvallo is widely recognised as one of the early developers of the smart grid concept.
With 30 years of experience in the energy, telecommunications, computers and software industries, he is an award-winning engineer who co-authored The Advanced Smart Grid.
Mr Carvallo is in New Zealand to address the Energy Management Association (EMANZ) conference in Wellington in late May.
He says the use of smart grids would underpin the increased use of EVs in New Zealand.
If the government powered its fleet with EVs it would also encourage their uptake in the public domain.
“There is potential to cut the country’s transport sector emissions by about 25 percent. This would have significant population health effects, would benefit the ozone layer and generate new jobs and would increase the supply and use of renewable energy.
He says the increased use of EVs in New Zealand would also create another electricity market which would benefit consumers who could use the batteries in their EV to store electricity and sell it back to the power companies.
Portable pricing zones could be created to ease congestion on the grid that may be caused by more EVs on the road. As well as easing grid congestion, using this pricing methodology would also reduce the need for electricity infrastructure upgrades.
Mr Carvallo says Austin Energy in his home State of Texas charges customers $5 per month which allows customers unlimited charging of their EV at any of Austin Energy’s 250 public charging stations.
It’s this kind of incentive and support that facilitates uptake of EVs.
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