As electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure is established across the country, working out the details for the best and most cost-effective systems has presented challenges. One such challenge is “demand charges,” which are electricity surcharges on peak power usage that are levied by utility companies. During times of peak power usage, the rates for electricity usage are significantly higher than during low-demand periods. Demand charges are designed to capture the marginal costs imposed on the grid by high-capacity, high-utilization infrastructure, such as factories.
High-power EV charging stations however are a high-capacity, low-utilization application, and demand charges place a cost burden on charging station owners whose customers often will charge their EVs during the hours of peak electricity demand. While many states and utilities are looking at ways to streamline electricity rates to better support public fast charging, Electrify America has rolled out behind-the-meter energy storage systems (BESS) at 140 DC fast-charging stations around the country. Add energy storage to a charging station helps to facilitate the roll-out of ultra-fast DC fast charging where it may otherwise be cost-prohibitive.
The Electrify America behind-the-meter systems in total have more than 30 megawatts (MW) of energy storage capacity, representing the largest roll-out of onsite behind-the-meter battery energy storage coupled with ultra-fast DC chargers in North America. More than 90 of the installations are in California.
The battery energy storage systems store power when electricity costs are low and supplement power during high points of consumption, minimizing the impact on the electrical grid and mitigating demand surges to help Electrify America maintain consistent pricing.
“We are constantly striving to introduce innovations that will drive the EV industry forward,” said Giovanni Palazzo, president and chief executive officer at Electrify America in a company news release. “With this significant deployment of battery energy storage, Electrify America will be able to help ensure a more efficient customer experience, especially as EV adoption increases and infrastructure demands continue to grow.”
According to the company, behind-the-meter energy storage:
- Can reduce stress on the electricity grid
- Mitigate demand surges to promote more consistent pricing
- Provide a more consistent and reliable EV customer experience
- Can support more renewable energy use
The company notes that “Beyond this installed energy storage portfolio, Electrify America is working on certification and initial roll-out of its next generation of onsite behind-the-meter battery energy storage early next year that will support higher peak power or demand mitigation capability in approximately the same footprint.”
Kevin Clemens is a Senior Editor with Battery Technology.