Case Study

DTE Energy Accelerates DC Fast Charging Station Deployment

The need to decrease carbon emissions is accelerating the popularity of electric vehicles. DTE Energy’s DC Fast Charging Corridor Study and the interactive tool developed as part of the analysis are being used to grow the utility’s EV charging infrastructure in a way that minimizes impact on the grid.


Challenge

The electric vehicle (EV) market in the U.S. is projected to expand to $137 billion by 2028. Michigan will contribute significantly to this growth and is committed to supporting the infrastructure expansion and providing the investment needed to strengthen the grid as EV use becomes more pervasive.

DTE Energy (DTE) is the parent company to DTE Electric, Michigan’s largest electric utility provider, which serves more than 2 million customers. With more than 11,000 megawatts of capacity, DTE is also one of the largest utilities in the country.

Anticipating the growth of EV adoption in its service area, DTE identified a need to understand where DC Fast Charging (DCFC) stations could or should be located to help evaluate potential impacts to the grid at those locations.

340

Sites considered for evaluation

7,840

Square miles of service territory

959

Substations potentially affected

Solution

With extensive federal infrastructure funding available and a need to streamline the time required for the identifying, handling and processing of potential DCFC stations, DTE required a comprehensive analysis of its EV distribution infrastructure. DTE engaged 1898 & Co., part of Burns & McDonnell, to execute the DCFC Corridor Study.

The project’s goals included identifying potential DCFC stations and prioritizing locations based on grid capacity and other factors. After applying our screening criteria to the 7,800-square-mile service territory and accounting for grid capacity for more than 950 substations and over 4,800 circuits spanning more than 16,000 miles, we generated 340 initial sites for consideration by DTE.

 

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Solution

With extensive federal infrastructure funding available and a need to streamline the time required for the identifying, handling and processing of potential DCFC stations, DTE required a comprehensive analysis of its EV distribution infrastructure. DTE engaged 1898 & Co., part of Burns & McDonnell, to execute the DCFC Corridor Study.

The project’s goals included identifying potential DCFC stations and prioritizing locations based on grid capacity and other factors. After applying our screening criteria to the 7,800-square-mile service territory and accounting for grid capacity for more than 950 substations and over 4,800 circuits spanning more than 16,000 miles, we generated 340 initial sites for consideration by DTE.

To provide power for DCFC stations, the circuit and substation required at least 1 megawatt of combined charging capacity at any location. Since a DCFC station requires service from a three-phase circuit, overhead circuits were assessed at locations across the service territory. The corridor study focused on circuits and substations that could support one or more 75-kilowatt DCFC stations, with up to 1 megawatt of combined charging capacity. Where capacity existed, larger-capacity chargers were also analyzed.

Systemwide Screening for Site Identification

Using ArcGIS mapping software, data gathering and geospatial analysis, the team looked at spatial queries based on existing circuit infrastructure with applied load values. As a baseline and to analyze peak load events, the evaluation used historical summer peak loading data. Without a need to do site-level analysis, the data and GIS insight enabled the team to inventory large geographic areas, including layering in current EV adoption data and traffic counts. The resulting analysis and insight allowed the project team to develop an interactive tool built on the ArcGIS platform that DTE deployed internally and provided to users across its organization.

Site Prioritization Based on Grid Capacity

Using the resulting DCFC stations suitability data, including EV adoption and traffic count information, the project team focused on developing a system to prioritize potential locations and created a systemwide method of screening and assessing distribution infrastructure. Circuits were narrowed and prioritized based on meeting the following criteria:

  • Circuits within a mile of exits on state and interstate highways.
  • Circuits serving rest areas, multimodal transportation centers and Michigan Department of Transportation carpool lots along state and interstate highways.

The ArcGIS tool is now invaluable to DTE. Not only does it help identify optimal DCFC stations based on circuit capacity, proximity to interstates, carpool assets and other factors, but the data can help accelerate the deployment of state and federal investment by identifying preferential locations that meet funding requirements.

Results

The approach taken in this study saved DTE valuable time by allowing it to analyze its entire service territory and efficiently gain the information needed to begin fine-tuning potential charger counts and other site-specific details.

The DCFC Corridor Study has provided an inventory of circuit capacity and the analysis and insight needed to support deploying DCFC stations across DTE’s service area. Thanks in part to this study and the interactive tool developed as part of it, DTE is well positioned to grow its EV charging infrastructure, enable additional services for customers, and capture federal and state incentives.

With a valuable tool in place to help build an EV fast-charging network, DTE is now better able to support residents and businesses who want to install chargers in identified high-traffic corridors. Planners are using the geospatial tool to understand potential system constraints in areas where DCFC stations might be installed, and the tool is helping developers quickly find suitable DCFC stations that do not require extensive grid upgrades, allowing stations to be installed more rapidly and at a lower cost. Similarly, DTE has the data to support the customers using EVs who may be eligible for charging rebates.


Project Stats


Client

DTE Energy

Location

Southeastern Michigan