The effect of millions of electric vehicles connecting to the grid during peak hours has been feared and discussed since long. While charging vehicles during off-peak hours may be good for utilities, in an interesting turn it may even earn some money for the owners. More specifically, EV/PHEV owners in West Texas and Illinois are being paid to charge their vehicles during off-peak hours, and that’s clean wind energy we’re speaking of.
With the growth of wind energy in these states, there is an oversupply of energy during off-peak hours, and this has in turn pushed prices into the negative range. Since wind turbine owners get a tax credit to the tune of 2.1 cents per kilowatt hour of energy generated, they prefer not to shut down the turbines during off hours and pass on a share of the subsidy to the end user.
Since there is no efficient energy storage system in place for off hours, the turbine owners are short of options. Smart Meters could prove to be useful for customers and utilities during such times, at least for the near future, until the demand increases or energy storage systems like Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) come into play.