This article is a featured guest post and submission to the 2023 Aii student OpEd scholarship competition.


Electric Vehicles (EVs) are growing in popularity as prices decrease and consumers are attracted by lower operating costs. One common area of concern is how will the electric grid meet the demands of more EVs on the road when transmission is already strained. Promoting smarter EV charging can enhance the electric grid’s overall stability, which will be critical as Texas faces record demand and energy prices grow more volatile.

A report released by the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure noted that the deployment of small and industrial-scale batteries is a key piece to the decarbonization puzzle, especially as intermittent resources comprise a growing share of the energy mix. Batteries deployed through increased EV ownership, coupled with improved charging infrastructure, can be used to send energy back to the grid during peak times, benefiting consumers through electricity sold and utilities through avoided grid strain. Already, automakers are adjusting to this new paradigm, with companies such as Tesla and GM looking to make their vehicles capable of sending power back to the grid. The startup world is rapidly evolving too, developing software solutions to better manage vehicle charging depending on real-time data from the state of the grid. Texas has worked in tandem, by allowing the use of virtual power plants to allow consumers to sell power back to the grid from their vehicles and other batteries through a pilot program allowing for up to 80 megawatts of capacity.

The benefits of a shift to thinking of EVs as an energy resource are significant:

Increased Responsiveness: EV batteries are suitable storage options that can respond to local grid conditions in cases where long-distance transmission from other energy sources is strained or those resources are underproducing.


Consumer Benefit:

Managed charging programs will allow consumers to play a more active role in electricity markets, drawing power for their vehicles in times of lower demand, and voluntarily selling it in cases where prices spike.


Energy Mix:

One of the key issues with renewable energy, particularly solar, is the generation in specific time frames that result in the need for peaker plants that come online when demand cannot be met. EVs as electricity storage can complement the grid to improve its overall emissions profile and reduce the reliance on these more carbon-intensive sources, which are often by population centers.

While much attention has been paid to expanding charging networks in public spaces, EV charging in the private realm is uncoordinated and limited to select cases. Expanding access to those who cannot simply plug in at home is critically important: an estimated 80% of EV charging is conducted at home. Part of the problem is that EV ownership has traditionally been low in the United States, and even in recent years charging capability has largely been viewed as an amenity rather than an integral feature. A shift is underway as landlords learn to monetize EV charging aided by startups in the space. Government involvement could be beneficial in cases

where the economics are not favorable and yet there is a high potential for EV adoption, especially as EVs become cheaper. Incentives facilitating charger installation exist but are a complicated patchwork of programs that result in significant knowledge, coordination, and capital gaps. There are various ways the state and municipalities can facilitate the transition:



Municipal and State fleets have significant opportunities to move vehicle-to-grid solutions to commercial viability by partnering with startups to electrify their fleets. Several of Texas’ cities already have commitments to transition portions of their fleets, and it only makes sense to equip them with the supporting infrastructure to allow them to contribute to the grid’s stability through partnering with firms developing charge-management solutions.


Simplified Permitting and Guidance:

Property and fleet owners need greater guidance and information transparency on how to connect their assets to the grid, and the thresholds where further studies are needed.


Financing for Improved Charging:

Access to EV charging is far from guaranteed for those living in multi-family properties. Improved local and state incentives addressing necessary upgrades to support EV charging, especially in the form of upfront or bridge capital, would open up the possibility of EV ownership to more segments of the population. This could also apply to commercial properties and other sites that might host large fleets.

Achieving the goal of developing EV charging infrastructure to improve grid stability requires a concerted effort from governments and the private sector. By providing flexible capital to property owners and partnering with firms developing charge management solutions, Texas can pave the way for an accelerated energy transition while providing key benefits to energy consumers.


Written by Nicholas Lyos, MBA candidate at Yale University


The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii) is an independent, national research and educational organization. An innovative think tank, Aii explores the intersection of economics, law, and public policy in the areas of climate, damage prevention, energy, infrastructure, innovation, technology, and transportation.