Electric vehicles have taken the automotive industry by storm, with sales increasing roughly six percent in the U.S. over the past year. However, the demand for electricity to charge these vehicles is overwhelming many power grids.

Renewable energy production has surged in some states like California, but it’s not always available when needed. Peak demand for electricity often occurs in the late afternoon and evening — when many people need to charge their EVs — leading to a switch to fossil fuels.

Peaker plants are typically used during these high-demand periods or when renewable sources are unavailable. Yet, they are often inefficient and produce more carbon emissions than fossil fuel plants that operate continuously.

Large buildings with parking and charging facilities may also face higher electricity bills and increased demand due to visitors, workers or residents using the charging stations to charge their electric cars.

California energy officials have requested that residents avoid charging their electric vehicles when the demand for power is high. Some other regions also consider implementing regulations that specify when electric cars can be charged, but these policies might not be enough to alleviate this issue.

Solution — New storage technology, roles of large power consumers

Fortunately, a solution might be at hand. Utilities are taking steps to embrace new storage technology that has the potential to make energy from renewable sources accessible even during periods of low input, allowing people to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.

Large power consumers, like office buildings and hotels, can also take steps to better manage demand by using more power based on renewable sources.

Buildings and facilities that have installed solar panels can further enhance their energy independence by investing in storage systems. For instance, home and business owners with a battery to store excess solar energy can receive higher rates for their solar energy sold back to the grid.

They can also explore innovative energy-generation and storage methods that leverage their vast size and underutilized areas. A case in point is gravity energy storage, which involves repurposing idle elevators to generate and stockpile energy.

Large facilities and buildings should do their part in enabling more affordable and greener EV charging. Otherwise, EVs would not be part of a green revolution but merely another demand on the electricity grid, contributing to more carbon emissions into the atmosphere.