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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Can Plug-in Electric Vehicles in a Smart Grid Improve Resiliency?

  • Author(s): Razeghi, Ghazal, PhD
  • Samuelsen, Scott, PhD
  • et al.

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While the impact of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) on electricity generation and transmission has been studied extensively, the impact of PEVs on the resiliency of the local electricity distribution system has not been addressed in detail. Understanding resiliency impacts is important as the increased use of PEVs, and especially the clustering of PEVs in one area (such as a neighborhood), place additional pressures on already aging power grid infrastructure. As an example, charging a large population of PEVs during normal operations can stress system components (such as transformers) resulting in accelerated aging or even failure, which reduces resiliency of the system. On the other hand, PEVs can also increase system resiliency. When connected to the grid, PEVs are an energy resource that can provide electricity for critical services (such as community shelters) during grid outages and facilitate grid restoration by providing electricity to support the restart of transformers and other utility assets.

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