Energy Storage, Electric Vehicles & EV Charging Study for Fayetteville Public Works Commission to Help Inform Future Direction

The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) staff lended their clean energy expertise in transportation, policy and power to help contribute to  an Energy Storage, Electric Vehicles (EVs) and EV Charging Study for Fayetteville Public Works Commission (PWC).

The study provides information about energy storage applications and services, electric vehicle options and trends, including electric vehicle charging and EV fleet opportunities. The team researched initiatives taken by other utilities, reviewing relevant legislative policy, grid impact of the applications, applicable codes and standards, incentives and tariffs – all considerations to help establish strategic direction for Fayetteville PWC.

“There are drivers of transformation for both EVs and energy storage adoption that are largely supported by NC legislative policy, the evolution of NC electric utilities, and future EV and battery storage manufacturing increases and cost reductions. These drivers are expected to significantly influence customer adoption in the coming years,” said Kathy Miller, Marketing Manager at Fayetteville Public Works Commission. “Recognizing these drivers of transformation and the utility’s responsibility to effectively plan for these changes, PWC felt this was the appropriate time to consider options to facilitate behind-the-meter demand response opportunities and solar connected battery storage, and evaluate the impact of EV adoption, residential charging, and commercial charging. Environmental concerns also continue to spur momentum behind EV and energy storage adoption.”

Miller pointed to North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 80: North Carolina’s Commitment to Address Climate Change and Transition to a Clean Energy Economy plan, which directed the state to execute a Clean Energy Plan, Zero Emissions Plan, and Motor Fleet ZEV Plan. The NC Policy Collaboratory was also tasked with conducting a study, Energy Storage Options for North Carolina, to evaluate energy storage in North Carolina, which outlines a variety of recommended approaches and tactics available to state policy makers for further development of a statewide coordinated energy storage policy. The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) agreed with the report that there is a need to prepare for increased storage deployment, Miller said, and NCUC conducted a series of educational presentations from experts on various discrete energy storage-related topics in order to provide informed policy endorsement.

The car industry is also undergoing transformation, Miller said, with most automakers planning to introduce more EV options.

“Established car manufacturers like Volkswagen, Ford, and Volvo intend to have an electric or hybrid version of every vehicle in their lineup in the near future,” Miller said. “Incentives, laws, and regulations related to EVs and EV charging in North Carolina designed to advance EV adoption are beginning to emerge. NC investor-owned utilities and electric cooperatives are investing in infrastructure and marketing to accelerate EV growth.”

According to the study, across the state, utility-scale energy storage development is expected to rise quickly. Since 2011, investor owned, municipal and cooperative utilities in North Carolina have installed 2,287 kW of battery storage capacity. The 2018 latest Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs) filed by North Carolina investor owned utilities (IOUs) indicated that the capacity of IOU operated energy storage is planned to increase from the current level of 1 MW to 246 MW by 2025. Likewise, state-wide EV sales are expected to exceed 80,000 electric and hybrid vehicles in the next five years.

The study also found that energy storage ownership benefits not only Fayetteville PWC, but also customers when rates are designed to reflect the hourly and seasonal variability of the cost of electric service. Pricing that reflects actual cost variability encourages customers to efficiently time their electricity use.  

Utility rates will play a significant role in the future of energy storage and EV ownership,” Miller said. “Energy storage benefits customers whose rates are designed to reflect the hourly and seasonable variability of the cost of electric service. There is significant and consistent evidence that time-of-use (TOU) pricing can shift EV charging to off-peak times. Time-varying rates that provide economic benefit to customers to charge off-peak, reduce supply costs by making greater use of lower-cost energy resources and improving grid efficiency.”

All of the considerations in the study included: charging to the grid and bi-directional metering for solar and solar + battery; energy storage incentives and rates; vehicle electrification; metering for level 2 multi-station chargers and DC fast chargers; EV incentives; EV rates for residential charging, public charging, and DC fast chargers, and customer education and communication. 

“These directional objectives will require data-driven application and program development,” Miller said. “Once these objectives are fully vetted and copiously defined, they will then be considered as part of PWCs Strategic Plan.”

Other participants included subject matter experts from Sustainable Sandhills, local car dealerships, North Carolina Auto Dealers Association (NCADA), ElectriCities of North Carolina, Plug-In NC, energy storage vendors, community leaders, internal authorities, and customers.

NCCETC has been working on the state level in support of Executive Order 80 and was also a major contributor to the NC Energy Storage Study of 2018. NCCETC has previously worked with PWC to provide a technical and economic analysis for their community solar farm project, including a 560 kW battery, to help the municipal utility consider the viability, costs, and value of the renewable energy in an effort to diversify their generation portfolio.

View the Energy Storage, EV and EV Charging study here.