NewEnergyNews: TODAY’S STUDY: The Fight For Electric Vehicles Heats Up

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    Tuesday, May 29, 2018

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Fight For Electric Vehicles Heats Up

    The 50 States of Electric Vehicles; Q1 2018 Quarterly Report

    May 15, 2018 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center [NCCETC])

    Q1 2018 ELECTRIC VEHICLE ACTION

    In Q1 2018, 42 states plus DC took a total of 275 legislative and regulatory actions related to electric vehicles. Table 1 provides a summary of state and utility actions occurring during Q1 2018. Of the 275 actions catalogued, the most common were related to Regulation (85), followed by Financial Incentives (57), and Market Development (52).

    TOP ELECTRIC VEHICLE ACTIONS OF Q1 2018

    Five of the quarter’s most notable electric vehicle actions are noted below.

    Hawaii Utilities Publish Electrification of Transportation Strategic Roadmap

    The Hawaiian Electric Companies published their Transportation Electrification Roadmap in March 2018, which includes 10 major initiatives. These initiatives include education, utility fleet electrification, vehicle cost reduction, opportunities for smart charging and provision of grid services, bus electrification, medium- and heavy-duty vehicle electrification, and expansion of charging availability at multi-unit buildings, workplaces, and public locations.

    California Regulators Approve Utility Electric Vehicle Programs and Investments

    The California Public Utilities Commission issued an order in January 2018, approving a variety of electric vehicle programs and investments proposed by the state’s three major investor owned utilities. These programs comprised the utilities’ Priority Review Projects and include new rate structures, inventive programs, and infrastructure deployment. The Commission also issued a proposed decision in Q1 2018 that would approve the utilities’ Standard Review Projects.

    Maryland Working Group Proposes Statewide Electric Vehicle Portfolio

    A working group on electric vehicles, formed as part of Maryland’s grid modernization proceeding, filed its proposal for a statewide electric vehicle portfolio in January 2018. The portfolio would include a variety of new rate structures, incentive programs, and demonstration projects. The Public Service Commission opened a new docket in February 2018 to consider the proposal.

    Missouri Utilities Propose New Electric Vehicle Charging Programs

    Three Missouri utilities proposed new electric vehicle programs during Q1 2018. Ameren proposed an incentive program for third-party charging infrastructure, while Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) and KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations asked the Commission to reconsider cost recovery for their utility-owned charging network and proposed a new rate tariff for these utility-owned charging stations.

    Pennsylvania Regulators Issue Electric Vehicle Charging Policy Statement

    In March 2018, the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission voted to advance a policy statement clarifying that third-party electric vehicle charging does not constitute a resale of electricity. The Commission emphasized a need for greater clarity and consistency on this issue in the state. The proposed policy statement was published in May 2018 and requires electric distribution companies to expressly address electric vehicle charging in their tariffs.

    TOP ELECTRIC VEHICLE POLICY TRENDS OF Q1 2018

    States Considering Multi-Faceted Electric Vehicle Plans

    States and utilities are putting forward multi-faceted approaches to electric vehicles and related infrastructure. Broad plans were put forward in both Maryland and Hawaii in Q1 2018, which include a variety of rate design strategies, incentive programs, education and outreach efforts, and infrastructure deployment plans. California regulators considered similarly broad plans from the state’s investor-owned utilities in Q1 2018, while legislators in multiple states, including Massachusetts and Vermont, introduced bills addressing electric vehicles and charging infrastructure in a variety of ways.

    Contention Around Utility Ownership of Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

    Utility ownership of electric vehicle charging infrastructure is proving to be one of the most contentious issues related to electric vehicles. Last year, Missouri regulators determined that utilities may not own charging infrastructure in the state – a ruling which is currently being reviewed by the Missouri Court of Appeals. However, Kansas City Power & Light asked the Public Service Commission to reconsider this decision in its latest general rate case and grant cost recovery for its charging network. Proposed legislation in other states would allow utility cost recovery for charging infrastructure, and the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada authorized utilities to own and operate charging infrastructure with regulations approved in May 2018.

    Considering the Role of Demand Charges in Commercial Charging Rates

    As demand charges are frequently included in commercial and industrial customer rate structures, these can often be a barrier to the development of public DC fast charging infrastructure. While this issue remains largely unaddressed across the country, states are beginning to examine the impact of demand charges on fast charger deployment and work with utilities to develop commercial charging rate structures that mitigate the impact of demand charges. The California Public Utilities Commission is addressing this issue as part of Southern California Edison’s proposed standard review projects, and a bill under consideration in Massachusetts directs utilities to file pilot commercial rate tariffs for electric vehicle charging with alternatives to traditional demand charges.

    Piloting Co-Location of Energy Storage and Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

    An emerging area of interest among states and utilities is the pairing of energy storage systems with electric vehicle charging stations in order to manage vehicle charging demand. In the Maryland electric vehicle working group’s proposed portfolio plan, utilities would pursue demonstration projects pairing battery storage with vehicle charging stations. As part of San Diego Gas & Electric’s priority review projects approved in January 2018, the utility plans to install a solar array and energy storage system at one location for shuttle charging.

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