Utilizing Highway Rest Areas for Electric Vehicle Charging: Economics and Impacts on Renewable Energy Penetration in California

California policy is incentivizing rapid adoption of zero emission electric vehicles for light-duty and freight applications. This project explored how locating charging facilities at California’s highway rest stops might impact electricity demand, grid operation, and integration of renewables like solar and wind into California’s energy mix. Assuming a growing population of electric vehicles to meet state goals, state-wide growth of electricity demand was estimated, and the most attractive rest stop locations for siting chargers identified. Using a California-specific electricity dispatch model developed at UC Davis, the project estimated how charging vehicles at these stations would impact renewable energy curtailment in California. It estimated the impacts of charging infrastructures on California’s electricity system and how they can be utilized to decrease the duck curve effect resulting from a large amount of solar energy penetration by 2050.