The Fix for the Electric Grid’s Mid-life Crisis Might be in the Garage

By Teri Viswanath

February 9, 2023

Key Points

  • The U.S. electric grid is now experiencing something of a mid-life crisis. It was designed and built with the presumption of a stable climate and a centralized, unidirectional flow of electricity. But that premise is quickly changing.
  • During periods of system stress, upstream grid operators are increasingly turning to large customers to voluntarily curb their power use. Next-generation distribution management systems in the future may unlock even greater demand flexibility.
  • New programs are already being introduced to shift demand, adding greater flexibility to an increasingly inflexible system, thereby avoiding strains on the grid. And, utilities are looking to electric vehicles as an important source of future flexibility.
  • Indeed, electric vehicle adoption could prove to be either the greatest grid disruptor or possibly the most effective grid-balancing tool. Where EV technology impacts ultimately land will likely boil down to the effectiveness of advance planning efforts and agile member communications.

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