Electric vehicle implications of disaster induced power outages

Date

2023-05-18

Authors

Churchill, Mike

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Abstract

The increasing electrification of the transport sector will create an increased vulnerability to power outages caused by disasters. This thesis provides two contributions in this area by offering suggestions for increasing earthquake grid resilience and modeling the use of electric vehicles (EVs) providing aid during a disaster induced outage. In British Columbia, Canada, the Lower Mainland and the Greater Victoria area on Vancouver Island have seen the largest adoption of EVs in the province and are located in an area of high seismic hazard, so it is crucial for the region to understand and plan for the impact of a large earthquake on the power system. This thesis compiles lessons learned from past large earthquakes in Chile, Japan, and New Zealand and applies them to increasing the power system resilience of the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. These suggestions are also compared with how fuel infrastructure resilience could be increased in the region of study. When used in conjunction with microgrids, EVs can potentially remain functional for the duration of a power outage. This thesis uses an agent-based model to study the behaviour of a fleet of EVs providing disaster relief during a power outage. EVs are tasked with donating energy to a shelter (Task 1), delivering critical supplies (Task 2), and providing transport for personnel or performing inspections (Task 3). Using a six EV fleet with two of each EV type, it was found that the 250, 350, and 450 kWh storage sizes could provide for outages of 0.5 to 1 day, 1 to 1.5 days, and 2 to 4 days, respectively. The rate of energy donated to the shelter was found to be 350 kWh/day, while the Type 1, 2, and 3 EVs, used energy at the microgrid at a rate of about 200 kWh/day, 100 kWh/day, and 50 kWh/day, respectively. Increasing battery storage size reduced the variation in the average daily energy use of the EVs and creating a six EV population with only Type 2 and 3 EVs was found to reduce variation even further and substantially increased the length of outage that the various microgrid storage sizes could provide for with 250 kWh storage now providing for outages of 2 to 4 days, while 350 and 450 kWh storage sizes routinely accommodated the EVs operating for a full two weeks (the time horizon of the model).

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Keywords

electric vehicles, resilience, earthquakes, electrical grid, fuel, agent-based model, power outages, disasters

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