ORIGINAL REPORTING: Team of rivals – Utilities, enviros unite to push electric vehicles
Team of rivals: Utilities, enviros unite to push electric vehicles; Old adversaries from the rooftop solar fights are finding common ground on transportation electrification.
Herman K. Trabish, Feb. 26, 2018 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: The fight against undue EV fees goes on and the common ground between utilities and EV advocates continues to expand.
In 2017, electric vehicles began to present state policymakers with regulatory turmoil previously reserved for rooftop solar. The estimated 765,000 U.S. electric vehicles (EVs) remain a very small percentage of the 250 million-plus vehicles in operation. And the almost 200,000 new EVs sold last year in the U.S. represent a tiny fraction of the total 17 million-plus in new car sales…But almost every major auto manufacturer has public plans for an EV model by 2020, according to PlugInCars. And a 2016 Bloomberg New Energy Finance report showed EVs reaching cost parity with conventional vehicles between 2022 and 2026. Just as when rooftop solar began to boom between 2012 and 2014, state legislators and regulators are responding to the rising customer demand for EVs with a flurry of policymaking activity. But whereas the rooftop solar battles often divided utilities and environmental organizations, the two are finding new common ground in transportation electrification.
There were 227 state- and utility-level actions related to EVs proposed, pending or decided during 2017, according to a new national policy review from the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (CETC). The legislative and policy actions covered by the review are wide ranging and include studies of EV impacts and incentives, charging station buildout, and EV-specific rate designs. As with rooftop solar, some proposed state policies would act to slow the growth of electric vehicles. Special fees, which act as disincentives by adding to the total cost of EV ownership, were the most common. This is especially problematic for environmental advocates because the EV value proposition is just beginning to attract a market beyond first-adopter climate and plug-in vehicle activists. Utilities object to policies that slow EV adoption because they interfere with load growth, with the opportunity to profit from charging infrastructure buildout, and with access to the flexible load represented by EV charging that could provide utilities with grid services… click here for more
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