ORIGINAL REPORTING: Details Of California’s Transportation Electrification Revolution
California utilities plot ways to prep grid for coming EV boom; Utilities are rolling out comprehensive pilot programs to integrate EVs onto the grid and prepare for the coming load
Herman K. Trabish, Aug. 22, 2017 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: California regulators just approved the smaller, 1-year proposals described here. Their ruling on the bigger, longer-term proposals is expected any time.
Electrifying the transportation sector is no small task. The California Public Utilities Commission recently approved a first round of pilot proposals to electrify transportation from the state’s investor-owned utilities (IOUs). A second, bigger round of proposals is pending. These pilots will cost a combined $1.3 billion and go beyond Gov. Jerry Brown (D)’s plan to have 1.5 million zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) on the road by 2025. The approved and proposed pilot projects would cover the gamut of possible ways to boost electric vehicle deployment including rate designs, smart charger buildout, public education efforts, and help for utilities to avoid upgrade costs. These new proposed projects are not just focused on cars — they also focus on school and transit buses as well.
This shift toward electrification of new types of transportation follows the innovation in passenger vehicles already well under way. In the first quarter of 2016, 97 makes and models of plug-in hybrid and battery EVs had entered the market. By the end of 2018, at least 181 models are forecast. The pilot projects proposed by California utilities include $553.8 million for SCE’s medium- and heavy-duty charging infrastructure buildout; $225.9 million for SDG&E’s residential charging; and $233.2 million for two projects for PG&E. These investments are expected to seed significant growth, allow utilities to be prepared for the transition to transportation electrification, and could pave the way for utilities across the U.S. to boost deployment while leveraging the grid benefits from managed EV charging…