California Invests in Advanced EV Charging to Mitigate Grid Stress

California pilots $9M REDWDS program for advanced EV charging, innovating to support grid amidst rising EV adoption, ensuring reliable energy integration.

Alicia C. Nelson


Alicia C. Nelson


Mar 7, 2024

California Invests in Advanced EV Charging to Mitigate Grid Stress

California Invests in Advanced EV Charging to Mitigate Grid Stress

In an ambitious move to support the surge of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road, California's Energy Commission is piloting a $9 million Responsive, Easy Charging Products with Dynamic Signals (REDWDS) program. As reported by Canary Media, this initiative signifies a proactive approach to redefining EV charging, working against the challenge of peak grid demand. As reported by Jeff St. John for Canary Media, the program’s trial projects range from smart home charging solutions to vehicle-to-grid services, ultimately gearing up the grid for the anticipated growth of EVs in the state.

Amidst California's fast-paced EV adoption, expected to leap from 1.5 million to a projected 8 million by 2030, the REDWDS program is not solely targeted at handling the current load. The strategy hones in on preempting grid strain, potentially saving the state tens of billions in grid upgrades. Innovative charging technologies and incentives hinge on ensuring that when EVs plug in, they do so at times that won't overwhelm the system, absorbing excess renewable power and even potentially contributing energy back to the grid during high demand.

New Charging Strategies to Preempt Infrastructure Challenges

The complexity of managing a vast influx of EVs is more intricate than adjusting simple time-based rates. Variations in how utilities approach smart-charging programs can significantly impact grid stability. Leveraging data on individual driver habits and advanced charging technology, companies like and Kaluza are looking to modulate charging schedules, so cars reach full charge by the morning without simultaneously spiking the grid. Nick Woolley and Jonathan Levy, leaders in the managed-charging space, emphasize the importance of integrating flexible charging controls seamlessly into the existing grid framework and user routines.

Advancing Charger Tech for a Dynamic Grid Relationship

Another critical aspect is the nature of the charging hardware itself. The future of EV charging involves not just smart EV chargers but "smart" battery systems and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) capabilities. Companies are piloting chargers that double as energy management systems, linking solar panels, home batteries, and even facilitating power flow back to the grid. Aggregating and managing these capabilities will play an integral part in supporting not only individual consumer needs but also the broader demands of a clean energy-driven grid. California's REDWDS program includes substantial grants for technology that can provide these innovative solutions, exemplified by dcbel’s recent award.

Managed-charging startups like WeaveGrid are crucial partners for utilities as they navigate evolving grid dynamics with the advent of mass-market EV adoption. These collaborations aim to harness the full potential of smart charging, ensuring grid reliability as the number of electric vehicles multiplies. The transition to a smart-charging ecosystem takes into account individual EV owner preferences and offers automated tools that facilitate cost-effective charging without compromising user convenience.

Ultimately, California's foray into responsive EV charging technologies presents a model for managing clean energy transitions at scale. The REDWDS program showcases how utilities, tech companies, and vehicle manufacturers can come together to optimize energy use and usher in an era of intelligent electrification. This concerted effort could shape how states across the nation and countries around the world approach the rapidly evolving electric transportation landscape.

Source: Canary Media

Related Posts