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Bay Area EV Drivers Helped Prevent Blackouts During 2022 Heat Waves

Courtesy of Alamy Bay Area.jpg
Bay Area.
Residents Earned Cash Back for Shifting 5 MWh of Usage Out during hours 4 - 9 p.m. through MCE Sync Program.

Ev.energy, a global provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging software, and Recurve, the open-source platform that enables planning, procurement, and demand flexibility for virtual power plants, proved the power of load shifting programs with partner MCE, helping Bay Area EV drivers reduce charging usage by 5 MWh during California's September heat wave. This is equivalent to the average daily energy usage for almost 300 households.

In November 2021, MCE partnered with ev.energy to launch MCE Sync, a free mobile app that provides a hassle-free way for customers to charge their EVs off-peak and save money without any special hardware. In April 2021, MCE partnered with Recurve to launch the Peak FLEXmarket, a $6M program that supports decarbonization and grid reliability by offering incentives for reducing energy consumption during times of peak demand.

"MCE is proud to operate a program that helps our customers save money and reduce their carbon footprint by shifting usage toward hours of the day where renewable energy is affordable and abundant," said Kevin Haroff, MCE Board Director and City of Larkspur Councilmember. "It is especially rewarding to put money back in our customers' wallets during this period of inflation and rising utility bills."

From August 31 to September 9, the California grid operator (CAISO) issued daily Flex Alerts asking residents to reduce energy consumption during hours 4 - 9 p.m. In response, the Peak FLEXmarket issued dispatches to MCE Sync which automatically reduced customers' EV charging by as much as 96%, helping California prevent blackouts. 98% of the app users participated and, ultimately, MCE Sync reduced energy consumption from EV charging by over 5 MWh over the 10-day period.

"MCE is committed to advancing electric transportation programs that make EVs and EV charging affordable, accessible and renewably powered," said Dawn Weisz, CEO of MCE. "MCE Sync is a great example of how community choice aggregators (CCAs) can help drivers save money on their EV charging while effortlessly supporting grid reliability."

Marin County resident and MCE customer Lydia Vignau uses MCE Sync to charge her Tesla Model 3. "I am happy to do my part to help balance the grid," she said. "I [trust] MCE with my data because it is being used to help balance the grid, the app is reliable, and my car is ready when I need it."

Contra Costa County resident and MCE customer Thomas Ganey uses MCE Sync to charge his EV at home. "It's always nice to know that smart charging settings use power when it's most sustainable and grid friendly," he said. "It was of no inconvenience to me at all."

The ability to reduce energy consumption at critical times is an invaluable resource to help the state avoid outages. Shifting EV charging out of peak hours will become increasingly important as California prepares to ban the sale of combustion-engine vehicles beginning in 2035.

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