May 17, 2024

Coupling of the Electricity and Transportation Sectors - Part II: Risk Assessment


This comprehensive report explores the intricate interplay through “sector coupling” between the Transportation Sector, Energy Sector, and the critical infrastructure challenges faced by the United States. Aligned with the ambitious federal goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the report analyzes the present vulnerabilities in the fossil fuel supply chain, highlighting instances where the dependence on this industry has been susceptible to local and global disruptions. With a focus on risk assessment, this report establishes a framework to compare the fossil fuel-based transportation sector with the burgeoning electrified sector, considering the evolving technologies in electric vehicles (EVs) and the nascent charging infrastructure. This study delves into the historical reliability of fossil fuel-based transportation and identifies opportunities for strengthening sector coupling between transportation and the electric sector. Assessments of the gasoline-diesel supply chain provide insights into both opportunities and threats, offering a roadmap for creating a more reliable and resilient electrified transportation system. We modeled sectoral coupling scenarios for the current internal combustion engine (ICE)-based and future EV-dominant landscapes, leveraging qualitative sector attributes to identify relative strengths and weaknesses in Part 1 of the report. In this report (Part 2) we continue to understand the role of the electricity sector on transportation and develop a semi-quantitative methodology is employed to evaluate and compare the risks associated with the fossil fueled and electric transportation sector during emergency scenarios, drawing from real-world events like hurricanes and geopolitical disruptions. Different operational scenarios for the fossil fuel and electrified sectors have been developed to understand the risks associated with them. This report concludes with recommendations for the architectural designs of electric charging infrastructure, underlining the need for informed decisions in the transition towards a sustainable and resilient transportation future.

Published: May 17, 2024


Mitra B., S. Pal, H.M. Reeve, and M. Kintner-Meyer. 2024. Coupling of the Electricity and Transportation Sectors - Part II: Risk Assessment Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Research topics