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The India Smart Grid Forum is almost here, and Amzur’s own Raymond Kaiser, director of Energy Management Services, will represent the company at this event. Not only that, but he will provide the keynote speech on the topic of smart charging for electric vehicles (EVs).
That’s because, in 2020, EVs are only going to get bigger, better, and more common. Prices will continue to drop as battery technology becomes cheaper, meaning more and more EVs will be seen on roads across the U.S. and around the world. This means utility companies must adapt in order to effectively provide sufficient power to support this popular new mode of transportation.
Adaptation, however, is rarely easy, especially for companies with established and widespread infrastructure. That’s why Kaiser and Dr. Dave Holmberg of the National Institute of Standards and Technology are co-chairing the Energy Services Interface Task Force for the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA).

Going Behind the Meter With SEPA

Through its involvement with SEPA, a nonprofit based in Washington D.C. with over 1,000 member organizations (including 700 electric power utilities), this task force—composed of SEPA members ranging from utilities to U.S. energy labs—is focused on creating an implementation guide for a new kind of energy services interface. This interface will support integrating behind-the-meter (BTM) distributed energy resources (DERs) into utility planning and operations.

The phrase BTM DERs refers to energy storage technology installed on a utility customer’s property, which can reduce load for the utility as well as the customer’s utility bill. New interest in this technology comes from the rapidly changing U.S. electric generation portfolio. Ten states already claim to have variable energy, with wind and solar making over 20% of the kilowatt-hours generated. In some states, wind and solar represent almost 40% of generation.

BTM DERs, which include many EV chargers, are some of the most cost-effective ways to accommodate this shifting landscape. The big challenge facing DER integration? A lack of interoperability among the confusing and overlapping mix of software standards and protocols currently in use. But smart charging technology aims to fix that—at least for EVs.
“The increased adoption of DERs—such as rooftop solar, battery storage and EVs—is an emerging challenge for utilities,” said Raymond Kaiser, Director of Amzur Energy Systems. “While the increase in DERs is part of this challenge, the shift to EVs will have the most significant impact on the local electric distribution grid.”

What Role Will EVs Play?

A recent SEPA study on EVs, based on feedback from utility members, found that accommodating these new vehicles is the most significant challenge utilities will face on their distribution systems because rapid EV growth is set to exceed the capacity of existing electrical infrastructure. But the required upgrades may take months or even years to deploy, meaning utilities should already be seeking strategies to mitigate costs and incorporate load management to minimize peak charging.

There is hope in the form of smart charging technology and methods. One of the most direct ways to reduce these challenges while enhancing energy reliability is to encourage “managed charging”—or rather, dictating when drivers can charge so as to increase or decrease EV charging power flows in real time.

Of course, this requires communication and coordination between grid operators, EV chargers, and EV drivers, which is where a standardized energy information exchange (ESI) can reduce the costs of integration and operations.

Luckily, there are additional solutions in the form of smart charging technology.

Smart Chargers and the Future of EVs

Whether an EV is being charged in a private residential home or at a station designed for an entire EV fleet, emerging BTM DERs provide a variety of solutions.
For example, individual owners who desire a superior charging experience for their home-based EV can upgrade to a level two charger, which offers much faster charge rates. For companies with fleets of electric cars, on the other hand, smart charging stations can enable dynamic power spreading, so the facility’s peak power usage never exceeds its capacity.
And this is just the beginning.

To learn more about how smart charging is changing the game for EV owners, utilities and more, contact Raymond Kaiser at info@amzur.energy.

Rani Nemani, president and founding partner of Amzur Technologies, has more than 20 years of experience in programming, talent acquisition, and technology. Nemani is a problem-solver, constantly looking for the most effective way to meet a need. When she and Bala Nemani launched Amzur Technologies in 2004, their combined vision produced cutting-edge software that fulfilled a variety of needs in global talent solutions.