Smart EV charging in California’s Sonoma County can help reduce peak demand and aid in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, says a new report,“Beyond Combustion: Electric Vehicle Trends, Goals and Recommendations for Sonoma County.”
“Large numbers of EVs connected to the grid through smart charging technology offer a perfect place to store excess electricity and make it available when needed,” said the report, which focuses on getting more EVs on the road to help the county meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets. EV adoption is seen as key because about 65 percent of the county’s emissions come from the transportation sector.
Programs, incentives and infrastructure that encourage drivers to charge during the day — when solar panels are generating — will increase the numbers of solar panels online, the report said.
In 2016, Sonoma Clean Power experimented with smart EV charging, according to the alternative energy provider.
Drivers enrolled in a program called SCP CleanCharge signed up to have software adjust charging in response to signals from SCP. The goal was to avoid using power to charge EVs when electricity from the grid was dirty or expensive.
In that program, the company also encouraged customers to power their EVs with locally produced renewable energy. Customers who used at-home chargers and combined it with clean energy from SCP were expected to spend about $15 to $20 a month for 100 percent renewable energy, according to SCP.
The “Beyond Combustion” report, from the Center for Climate Protection, said that electrifying home heating and transportation with renewable-energy-based power is the quickest way to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets.
“As the grid gets cleaner, which it is doing at a steady pace, all electrical devices, including cars, get cleaner. By contrast, no matter how fuel-efficient a combustion vehicle is, it will continue to emit a consistent amount of greenhouse gases per mile traveled until it is replaced, usually 10 to 20 years in the future,” said the report.
Sonoma County now has about 4,500 EVs on the road, and will need about 138,000 EVs by 2030 to meet the county’s climate goals, the report said.
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