California Wants to Charge the Power Grid Using Electric Vehicles

California Wants to Charge the Power Grid Using Electric Vehicles

( – California is well known for overloading its power grid, performing rolling blackouts during peak times and emergencies. Patricia Poppe, CEO of Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), believes she has found a solution that does not involve using diesel generators for backup (the current plan B when the grid is overwhelmed). Instead of using oil that is already available, Pope wants to use electric vehicles (EVs) to feed power back into the grid for public consumption.

The technology for this process, called bi-directional charging, is not currently available. PG&E is working with several automotive manufacturers to have this technology installed in more models of EVs.

Most EVs currently can be used as a backup battery for a home, but not to send power back to the grid. Mark Toney, a representative for TURN (The Utility Reform Network), believes EVs are a potentially “gigantic, unharnessed, untapped power source.” He states that since EVs are parked 95% of the time, the power stored in their batteries could easily be sent to the power grid once the technology is available.

California’s climate agenda wants a future where everyone drives an EV and the grid is equipped to “quickly and safely” charge the expected 12.5 million EVs by 2030. Senate Bill 233, if passed, would make the bi-directional charging technology mandatory in all new EVs.

According to the Pacific Research Institute, the state is not currently able to meet the goal for the power grid in time, which is why PG&E wants to use EVs as a way to source power to the public grid.

If the concept becomes a reality, California will need to decide how to compensate customers for the power generated from personally owned EVs. Consumers will also be footing the bill for the addition of the bi-directional charging technology added to EVs which could be thousands of dollars added to the cost per vehicle.

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