Climate Friday: Batteries on Wheels

December 18, 2020 11 AM PST

The energy storage industry is booming.  Mobile batteries, including electric cars and buses, are an important part of the strategy to ensure the safety and reliability of a carbon-free electric grid. California’s century-old system is failing with public safety power shutoffs and rolling blackouts, and vulnerable to increasing climate extremes. However, automakers and charging infrastructure manufacturers are already planning for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology which could be used by utilities to minimize power outages and to prevent curtailing new solar as the state faces “too much solar” at peak times. We must also engage skilled labor in the implementation of mobile storage, and prioritize accessibility for lower-income communities and communities of color.

Erika Myers, Global Senior Manager of Electric Vehicles at the World Resources Institute, and Kurt Johnson, Community Energy Resilience Director at The Climate Center, discussed how mobile battery storage can help meet the challenges of today, and what policymakers and regulators must do to ensure that mobile storage reaches its potential for a resilient, equitable, and climate-safe future.

Speakers

Erika Myers is an electric vehicle subject matter expert at WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. She leads the electric mobility team’s research efforts and works with cities across the globe to identify opportunities to electrify transportation, including infrastructure deployment and vehicle-grid integration methods for public transit and other municipal fleets.

Erika has worked for nearly two decades on clean energy, alternative transportation fuels, and distributed energy resource topics in government, for-profit, and non-profit roles. Her background gives her a unique perspective on the opportunity to leverage renewable energy and electric vehicle charging to reduce emissions through the widespread deployment of vehicle-grid integration. She ‘walks the talk’ by owning two battery electric vehicles powered by 100% renewable energy, which she manages through a networked Level 2 residential charger.

Kurt Johnson, Advanced Community Energy Manager for The Climate CenterKurt Johnson is the Advanced Community Energy Manager for The Climate Center. Kurt began working at the Center in 2019. He previously founded and directed a renewable energy project development consulting firm, bringing new projects online ranging from 8 kW to 8 MW. Kurt also founded a small hydropower trade association where he lobbied successfully for regulatory reform before Congress and the Colorado legislature. Kurt also worked in the solar industry for Recurrent Energy and also for the California Public Utilities Commission in San Francisco. Kurt worked at the U.S. EPA for eleven years where he founded the EPA renewable energy program, the Green Power Partnership. Kurt started his career in 1991 working on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC as a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Rep. Richard Swett (D-NH). Kurt holds an MS in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Johns Hopkins University and an MA and BA from Stanford University.