How Chakratec supports grid resilience amid EV charger rollouts and weather-related blackouts

EV Charging for Real Estate

Grid resilience and stability is being discussed more frequently as demand for energy increases and new technologies are introduced that require greater grid capacity and power. One of those technologies that will continue to add pressure to electric grids around the world is electric vehicles (EVs), and the rollout of EV charging infrastructure.

EVs currently account for 2% of vehicles sold each year in the U.S., and according to the Department of Energy, more than 80% of EV charging happens at home. Approximately 63% of Americans live in residences with access to a garage or carport, where, in theory, an EV could be charged. Still, “range anxiety” is considered to be one of the main psychological barriers of the EV revolution. There are drivers and EV owners who don’t have access to home charging and need reliable, fast EV charging infrastructure to power their vehicles that have yet to be deployed. All-electric bus fleets and taxi services in cities also require robust, resilient public EV charging networks that will keep these essential services running. A vast and accessible public EV charging infrastructure is required to power this EV transition. That’s where energy storage comes in.

Energy storage reduces pressure on the grid caused by EV charger rollouts

Currently, in order to fast charge multiple EVs simultaneously (under 20 minutes), there is a need for electricity and infrastructure equivalent to powering a small neighborhood (over 1 MW), which is not feasible to achieve in many locations due to insufficient grid power. As more EVs hit the road in the coming decades, grid infrastructure must be able to keep up with increased power demand.

Investing in infrastructure upgrades is costly and can take years due to tedious local and utility regulations. Alternatively, there is an option to invest in local energy storage solutions that can build grid resiliency for EV charging. Energy storage solutions enable the deployment of fast and ultra-fast EV charging stations in locations with limited grid power and allow those charging stations to draw power from the grid during off-peak times when demand is low, which is more cost-effective.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that, by 2050, the electrification of transportation and other sectors will require a doubling of U.S. generation capacity. Energy storage technology facilitates the deployment of fast and ultra-fast EV charging stations anywhere by “boosting” local generation capacities.

Energy storage supports EV growth amid rise in extreme weather events

In addition to increased electricity demand from EVs, a major external factor that affects an electrical grid’s ability to remain stable is extreme weather events. Because of climate change, experts believe that extreme weather events will become increasingly common. The sudden uptick in devastating wildfires in dry climates such as California and Australia, and rare winter storms in places such as Texas, have left local leaders scrambling for solutions. Energy storage technology provides stability and additional grid capacity to support EV growth and withstand extreme weather.

Just recently in Texas, a rare winter storm swept the state and left millions without power for days. The state’s outdated grid failed at handling a climate-driven extreme weather event due to a decade of deregulation, despite diversifying its power supply and drawing from many sources, including renewables, natural gas and fossil fuels. Diversification of power sources is the primary way to manage risk in the event of extreme weather events and other external variables; and energy storage is a key enabling technology for this to happen. It’s possible to utilize energy storage at any level of the grid, including at the customer level, distribution, transmission, or even at generation sites.

For example, energy storage solutions store excess wind and solar power when supply exceeds demand, keeping renewable energy from going to waste. It’s possible to use that electricity to offer back-up power for homes, elevators in commercial buildings, EV charging stations, etc. during blackouts and power shut-off events. Energy storage solutions also prevent utilities from charging EV owners higher energy bills when demand is high (demand charges). EVs further help stabilize local grids by feeding power back into the system during times of peak demand, using chargers that allow electricity to flow in both directions (V2G).

How Chakratec’s technology enables grid resiliency

Chakratec understands that grid resiliency is critical, especially as EV adoption and extreme weather events continue to be on the rise. Chakratec’s unique flywheel energy storage technology for EV charging enables grids to remain stable during times of peak demand, and it can offer peak shaving and grid stabilization services if required.

Not only does Chakratec’s flywheel energy storage technology support grid resiliency, but it is also one of the most sustainable and safest solutions on the market and does not use polluting, chemical-based batteries. Our energy storage system is usable for over 20 years and has practically unlimited charging cycles — over 200,000, which is unrivaled by any other chemical battery in the market.

As demand for energy continues to increase with the rollout of fast EV charging stations and other energy-intense technologies, local leaders and utilities are going to need to invest in solutions in the short term. It’s clear that we need viable energy storage solutions now to meet the demands of the near future. EV charging infrastructure can be accessible in all regions and no one should have to pay demand charges or go without power for days when cost-effective, sustainable energy solutions can be implemented today.