Current Flex Alert provides insight into grid changes as electric vehicle use expands in California


SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Electric vehicle owners are urged to avoid charging their cars during the ongoing Flex Alert on Thursday and Friday to avoid putting additional strain on the network. The Flex Alert operates from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

However, very few electric vehicle owners were aware that the request was made by the California Independent System Operator, which monitors grid conditions in real time.

“I haven’t heard of it, so I didn’t know it,” complained Ahmad Peivandi of Fremont.

Once Peivandi was informed of this, he immediately opted to charge his electric vehicle closer to noon, which reduced demand on the network.

“If I know there’s an alert, I would because it’s probably going to cause problems elsewhere, outages,” he said.

RELATED: Flex Alert Issued in California as Parts of State Could See 8 Straight Days of Triple-Digit Heat

But most EV owners charge their vehicle after work when they get home.

“The network is going to have to be much larger, maybe 20, 30 percent larger just to accommodate this additional demand,” explained David Victor of the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy.

Professor Victor says California will need to expand the power grid to meet demand and people will also need to be more flexible.

“So what we really need to do is convince people to move their charging from nighttime to the middle of the day and that means for people who are back in the office, that means charging in the workplace, park your car and have a device there that can charge the car,” Professor Victor added.

According to Governor Newsom’s office, there are more than 1.1 million registered electric vehicles in the state. California controls the market with 39% of all electric vehicles in the country.

RELATED: In Favor of Zero Emissions, California Bans Sales of New Gas-Powered Cars by 2035

By 2035, all new cars here will be zero-emission vehicles, with most coming off the grid.

So how will EV owners be immune to these Flex alerts years from now?

Scott Painter is the CEO and founder of Autonomy, an electric vehicle subscription app. He says the expansion of DC charging stations will be helpful as they are battery powered and charge a vehicle in minutes.

“So when you go to charge at a DC fast-charging station, you’re not putting a load on the grid, so this will be by far the most responsible way for EV owners to lighten the load on the grid.” , said Painter.

The California legislature has set a goal of having 10,000 DC fast-charging stations statewide by 2025.

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