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While electric vehicles are undoubtedly the future, the question of whether or not our power grid is also ready for the "future" has started to surface. Especially in places like New York.
Power outages and appeals from utilities for customers to cut back on usage have been commonplace - not just in California, but also in places like New York, Texas and Louisiana.
And while the nation stays focused on "the future" of vehicle travel, another bottleneck arises in power generation, a new Washington Post article points out. The grid is going to be "challenged" by the need to deliver power to the cars, the report notes.
Gil Quiniones, head of a state agency called the New York Power Authority, said: “We got to talk about the grid. Otherwise we’ll be caught flat-footed.”
One recent study predicts the country will need to invest $125 billion into the grid to handle the shift to electric vehicles. The current infrastructure bill would account for $5 billion in upgrades. That leaves an enormous gap.
Cars, trucks and busses in New York will use 14 percent of New York’s total output by 2050, the report says. Its the same as "powering a new city of four million people".
Shuli Goodman, executive director of a Linux Foundation project called LF Energy, said: “The grid of the future isn’t going to be a grid at all. It will be more like the Internet.”
Government officials are optimistic about wind and solar, but renewables like wind power are limited in how they can expand and unreliable in their power generation. Wind, for example, makes up just 3% of power generation in New York.
"The rest of New York, the topography doesn’t really lend itself to wind. Up and down the East Coast, it’s more difficult to site wind farms," said Jason Du Terroil, who works for a wind turbine operator.
The Tug Hill Land Trust, a private nonprofit, even objected to some wind power being installed in parts of rural New York. A representative from the group said: “If you’re cutting down trees to put up windmills to fight climate change, it doesn’t make sense to me. It would be a lot easier to swallow if it was a community project, with community benefits.”
But the grid must expand with New York's 70/30 goal, one where 70% of power is carbon free by 2030, in mind.
And while solar has also been proposed as a solution, especially for cities, not everyone is confident that large corporations and crowded cities won't overwhelm the grid.
“What if Amazon and FedEx and UPS say, ‘We’re going to go electric'. Con Ed is going to be scrambling,” Gil Quiniones, head of the New York Power Authority, said.
“You don’t want everybody charging when it’s 96 degrees at 2 p.m. That’ll crash the system."
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