Entergy Mississippi piloting DC Fast Chargers to test E-mobility impacts on Grid

Jan. 6, 2023
The DC fast chargers pilot will help give Entergy insight into the impact of electric vehicle demand on the power grid. Understanding frequency, time of day and location can help the utility better prepare for the improvements needed

Utility holding company Entergy Corp.’s Mississippi subsidiary is trying out its own electric vehicle fast charging station for residents and EV drivers close to two interstates in the central part of the state.

Entergy Mississippi has launched a direct-current charging station at Renaissance at Colony Park in Ridgeland, along north-south I-55 and close to the junction with east-west I-20. The $200,000 facility is parent Entergy’s first company-owned EV charging station in its four-state service area.

The DC fast chargers also are part of a pilot project giving Entergy insight into the impact of electric vehicle demand on the power grid. Understanding frequency, time of day and location can help the utility better prepare for the improvements needed on the grid to accommodate a growing e-mobility transition.

Many of the nation’s automakers—and international brands which manufacture and sell vehicles in the U.S.—are announcing shifts toward electrification of their vehicle models. Several are even planning to move battery manufacturing into the U.S. to tighten domestic supply chains.

“The complexities of the power grid require us to plan years ahead of when we’ll need infrastructure in place to serve our customers,” Haley Fisackerly, president and CEO of Entergy Mississippi, said in a statement. “By proactively installing this fast-charging EV station pilot project, we’ll be able to learn in real time the effects (that) electric vehicle use has on our systems and implement technologies to help manage the demands we expect in the future.”

The station is equipped with two DC fast chargers which can provide up to 120 kW of power and are compatible with different EV models. Customers using the charging station pay about 30 cents per kWh, which translates to $20 to $30 on a full charge within 30 to 45 minutes, according Entergy.

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The challenges that an e-mobility transition faces are formidable. If an estimated 26 million EVs are on U.S. roads by 2030, as some predict, power utilities will be tasked with ascertaining load distribution, maintaining power frequency and distributed infrastructure such as transformers and switchgear.

And that’s not even accounting for customer fears around range of vehicles and longer charging times compared with gas-station fueling.

At the time time, EV proponents say these vehicles are cheaper to run in the long term, with electric charging cost maybe half of fueling by gasoline or diesel. Furthermore, perceived maintenance costs may prove lower because of less moving and operating parts within an EV, according to those in the industry.

“It requires a much more holistic approach,” Hicham Addessamad, chairman and CEO of Hitachi America, said in a joint webcast with rental vehicle fleet owner Penske last year. “It’s about building the right relationship with utility customers, having charging stations...optimizing routes.”

The transportation sector—which includes individual drivers, truck fleets, deliveries, railroads and air travel—accounts for about 27 percent of CO2 emissions in the U.S. Light-duty vehicles such as cars and smaller delivery vans account for more than half of that emissions total, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

Entergy has utilities providing electric services to customers in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas.