Role of Electric Vehicles in the U.S. Power Sector Transition: A System-Level Perspective

Research output: NRELPresentation


After over a century of petroleum dominance many anticipate that electrification could disrupt the transportation energy landscape. At the same time, the electric power systems are undergoing profound changes: variable renewables are displacing conventional generation sources; distributed generation is disrupting utility business models; energy storage and other new technologies are emerging; and the traditional system based on the premise that generation is dispatched to match an inelastic demand is evolving to create a system with greater participation in power system planning and operations from traditionally passive consumers. In this context, it is important to understand how transportation electrification will impact electricity demand and in turn electricity supply, including changes in the load shapes that characterize the system and the opportunity to leverage flexible electric vehicle (EV) charging to better integrate demand and supply. Assessing the impacts of electrification on the energy system requires an understanding of how it might impact the amount and shape of electricity consumption, and how this electricity can be supplied. In particular, increased adoption of electric vehicles introduces a new source of demand altogether, potentially very flexible. Moreover, electrification could shift the consumption of natural gas between sectors, thereby affecting the economics for natural gas-fired generation relative to other electricity generation options. Several factors will impact the evolution of the power system under a widespread electrified future, which, in turn, could have far-reaching effects on future energy costs and emissions.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages23
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NamePresented at the 4th E-Mobility Power System Integration Symposium, 3 November 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5400-78231


  • electric vehicles
  • EV
  • power systems


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