We found ourselves thinking about how Smart Energy Management for EV charging is connected to the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference; Countries from around the world continue to focus on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as a key strategy for reducing the rate of global warming. That focus ranges from participating in worldwide efforts at gaining consensus on actions needed to reduce emissions to country-specific programs for transitioning to electric vehicles (EVs).
At the worldwide level, the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference , held in Glasgow, Scotland, 31 October through 13 November 2021, ended with a last minute change to the position on coal power from “phase out” to “phase down” that disappointed many attendees. However, the delegates strongly called on participating nations to pursue more urgent emission cuts.
The final agreement keeps alive the hope of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius but provides no consensus over how to obtain the goal, which will require rapid, deep and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, including reducing CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030. The agreement also calls for accelerating technology, finance and policies in support of low-emission energy systems and scaling up clean power generation, especially on the part of developed countries.
The agreements reached by the delegates are focused on energy generation and don’t specifically mention vehicle electrification. Nonetheless, incentivizing electric vehicle adoption is one strategy that nations across the world are implementing to reduce GHG emissions. Transportation is one of the largest emitting sectors, and with growing demand, transportation GHG emissions are still rising.
A recent study from the independent International Council on Clean Transportation found that more widespread adoption of EVs will indeed help meet the goal of reducing GHG emissions. Even for cars registered today, battery vehicles have by far the lowest lifecycle GHG emissions compared to all other technologies. That finding includes the GHG emissions from power generation used to charge the EVs. As electricity generation becomes lower carbon in the coming years and battery technologies improve, the life-cycle emissions from EVs will decline further.
Transforming the EV Charging Energy Challenge into a Solution
A smart energy management solution for EV charging infrastructure, including EV fleet depots, can also contribute to reducing GHG emissions by helping to avoid increasing power generation to keep rapidly growing numbers of EVs charged and on the road. It does this by optimizing the use of existing grid capacity, flattening the energy demand curve and balancing use of electricity across all chargers at a facility.
Smart energy management can also integrate grid power supplies with onsite renewable energy — typically solar panels — and local battery storage. Locations served by utilities that offer flexible and time-of-use pricing can also charge local storage from the grid when demand is lowest. Paired with smart EV charging technology, the EVs themselves can become part of the solution with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology. V2G returns the energy stored in EV batteries to the grid through bi-directional charging stations, further reducing the need to increase power generation to support EVs. V2X technology works the same way, but it can send energy from the vehicle’s batteries back to storage at home or at workplace charging facilities.
All told, with EV manufacturers, power utilities, smart energy management, and smart charging all working together, we can make progress on our shared goal of creating a better future world for our children.