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California Faces Up to $20 Billion in Costs to Update Grid for EV Mandates

California Faces Up to $20 Billion in Costs to Update Grid for EV Mandates

Apr 24, 2024
climate hysteria

California Faces Up to $20 Billion in Costs to Update Grid for EV Mandates

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, Yanning Li and Alan Jenn, have identified that nearly two-thirds of the state's feeder lines are currently inadequate to meet the projected demand for electric vehicle (EV) charging.

According to Li and Jenn's analysis, which incorporates detailed data on California's grid infrastructure, the state's existing capacity will rapidly become insufficient. By 2025, only 7 percent of feeders will experience periods of overload, but by 2030, this will increase to 27 percent, and by 2035, approximately half of the feeders could be overloaded. Their projections anticipate that by 2045, a decade after the mandate for only EV sales, the electrical demand could be nearly double the current capacity.

The study reveals that the distribution of problems will not be even across the state, with high-density areas such as the Bay Area likely to encounter issues first. Residential and mixed-use neighborhoods will be particularly affected as coordinated surges in demand occur when people return home and begin charging their vehicles. Business-centric districts are expected to fare better due to more sporadic charging station use.

Residential services are projected to require an expansion of about 16 gigawatts by 2045, and public chargers will need an additional nine gigawatts of capacity. The researchers also note that the adoption rate of direct current fast charging (DCFC) will significantly impact the grid upgrades needed, with a full transition to DCFC increasing the number of feeders requiring updates by 15 percent.

The financial implications of upgrading California's grid are substantial, with estimates ranging from $6 billion to $20 billion. This cost could represent over a third of the current grid's total value, estimated at $51 billion.

While the researchers have provided a thorough analysis of the grid's readiness for EV integration, their study does not account for the broader electrification efforts in California, such as heating and hot water systems transitioning away from natural gas or propane. These additional demands will also place pressure on the grid, potentially complicating and increasing the cost of upgrades.

Research Paper


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