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INESC TEC forecasts the impact of electric vehicles on the E-REDES networks

Consultancy project evaluates the impact of the large-scale rollout of electric vehicles on the distribution network and anticipates future investment needs.

09th February 2021

In January, INESC TEC concluded a consultancy project with E-REDES to analyse the impact of a growing number of electric vehicles (EV) on the power grid, and assess the investment needs for the next 20 years.

The Grid Plan - Impact of EV evolution on the distribution network planning explores scenarios of mass adoption of electric vehicles in Portugal, in order to anticipate the technical, operational and financial challenges that the distribution network will face until 2040.

To E-REDES, a higher number of electric cars in Portugal means more charging stations, leading to an increase in consumption, which requires a better network responsiveness. In that regard, the integration of photovoltaic panels and storage devices may counterbalance this increase, namely if those resources are used in a coordinated manner to meet the network needs.

In this sense, the main objective of the study is to define a strategy for the development and reinforcement of the power grid, allowing E-REDES to optimise investment and ensure the quality of their services - even in the event of greater demand.

Future scenarios of technology diffusion allow anticipating network problems

Within the scope of the Grid Plan, INESC TEC developed computer simulation programs that determine the impact of EVs on a set of standard power grids - which E-REDES identified as being representative of the national distribution network.

Moreover, this project also included the definition of several scenarios for the adoption of the aforementioned technologies over the next 20 years, according to internal forecasts of E-REDES, the Roadmap for Carbon Neutrality 2050 and data from other entities of international relevance, such as ENTSO-E. Said scenarios were then analysed with the support of the developed programs.

The results collected were useful to determine the main network operational issues that are likely to occur until 2040, and to identify the investment needs for this time horizon.

The consumers will also benefit

Despite targeting the Portuguese distribution network operator, the timely planning of the development of the power grid can also have a significant impact on consumers. On the one hand, a more robust network guarantees better quality of service and fewer interruptions in energy supply; on the other hand, timely and optimised development and planning help reducing investment costs and, even if indirectly, to benefit final consumers in terms of the evolution of electricity tariffs.

The Grid Plan was completed in just over a year, and the results will support E-REDES in defining the strategy for 2030 and 2040.