October 14, 2010 08:27 ET

KEMA and CenterPoint Energy Find Minimal Near-Term EV Impact on Houston Electric Infrastructure

Study Identifies Electric Vehicle Adoption Motivations and Trends

BURLINGTON, MA--(Marketwire - October 14, 2010) - KEMA ( and CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC (CenterPoint Energy) issued findings of a joint study on the impact of electric vehicle (EV) adoption on the transmission and distribution system in the Houston area. The report -- "Electric Vehicles in Houston: Motivations, Trends, and Distribution System Impacts" -- is part of CenterPoint Energy's efforts to support development of the EV market in the Houston area and prepare itself to address potential impacts on its T&D system. 

"For the last several years, CenterPoint Energy has worked with industry groups and major automotive manufacturers such as Ford and General Motors to study the potential impact of EVs on the electric delivery system," said Scott Prochazka, division senior vice president of Electric Operations for CenterPoint Energy. "As these vehicles are produced in greater numbers, we're committed to making certain our system will support their entry into our market."

Overall, the study determined that system-wide impacts from EVs are likely to be relatively minimal within the next decade, with additional peak load growing by no more than 5 percent. However, the localized impact of EVs, including excessive transformer loads, is of more concern. In particular, the analysis shows potential clustering of EVs which can result in high EV loads at a given transformer. Low charging levels during off-peak periods could notably limit overloading. However, as the number of EVs increases and the charging levels rise over the next ten years, transformer overloading is highly probable for certain regions of CenterPoint Energy's territory. Careful management of EV loads could potentially mitigate such impacts.

The primary study focus was to assess the impact of EVs on the electrical distribution system; although the study also considered the following questions:

  • Why is transportation electrification important for the future of electric utilities and society?
  • What is the state of EV technology?
  • What will be necessary to support customer purchase and operation of EVs?
  • What are the key electric utility public-policy drivers for EVs?
  • What are the key regulatory and rate design issues that need to be addressed?
  • How should electric utilities approach load forecasting of EV loads?
  • What will be the system impacts from EVs?
  • What EV peak power demand response/load management opportunities could potentially mitigate any system/distribution impacts?
  • What will be the financial impacts from EVs?
  • What should be the focus of electric utilities in the short term and the long term?

A summary of the KEMA study "Electric Vehicles in Houston: Motivations, Trends, and Distribution System Impacts" is available at:

About KEMA
Founded in 1927, KEMA is a global provider of business and technical consulting, operational support, measurement and inspection, testing and certification for the energy and utility industry. With world headquarters in Arnhem, the Netherlands, KEMA employs more than 1,600 professionals globally with offices and representatives in more than 20 countries. KEMA's US subsidiary, KEMA, Inc. is headquartered in Burlington, Mass. and serves energy clients throughout the Americas and Caribbean.

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