Duke Energy plans $1.2M car-charging pilot

Duke Energy plans to install recharging equipment for electric vehicles at the homes of 150 customers in the Carolinas in a pilot program to determine how to most effectively update equipment and capacity.

"We want to maintain reliability and minimize costs," says Duke spokeswoman Paige Layne.

The pilot will cost about $1.23 million through 2013. Regulators in the two states must approve the program before Duke can start.

The company says it wants to learn particularly if it will be necessary to upgrade transformers in some residential areas as more people adopt the cars. Its filing in late January with the N.C. Utilities Commission also says Duke is concerned it may have to add new peak-power capacity (new plants or power purchases by Duke) if the load is not handled properly.

The key will be determining how to best encourage customers to charge vehicles during low-use times, such as overnight.

"By 2020, unmanaged (vehicle) charging could result in the need for an additional 89 megawatts of (peak) capacity in the Carolinas," Duke tells the commission.

Read more in the Charlotte Business Journal.

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