ORIGINAL REPORTING: Best Practices For Interconnecting EV Chargers
Utilities, charger vendors find interconnection best practices to propel EV growth; Collaboration and transparency pioneered in solar interconnections can fast-start delayed transportation electrification ambitions
Herman K. Trabish, April 22, 2019 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: It is becoming clear that the key to growing the EV industry is getting chargers connected.
Gasoline-fueled vehicles would not get far without easy-to-access gas stations and, for the same reason, electric vehicles (EV) will need easy-to-access charging stations for the U.S to transform its transportation system.
Transportation electrification is widely seen as crucial to decarbonizing the U.S. economy. But charging vendors say avoiding utility interconnection delays is necessary to maximize EV deployment. Such delays remain common, they add, but best interconnection practices are emerging.
Best interconnection practices begin with the utility making clear what information it needs to prepare the site, charger builders told Utility Dive. Utilities must also be clear about when the site will be ready for installation of the charging infrastructure. Finally, charger builders and utilities must have clear channels of communication throughout the process.
"One of the first things EV buyers want to know is where charging stations are," EVgo Executive Vice President of Business Development Julie Blunden told Utility Dive. Resolving delays that can add six months to utility interconnection is "critical" to maintaining that pace, she said.
But it's not just charging station vendors who want more build-outs sooner. Some utilities are also pushing for quicker deployment. "California needs 7 million electric vehicles by 2030 to meet its climate goals, and we need to move faster to make charging infrastructure available for that transportation electrification," Southern California Edison (SCE) Director of eMobility Katie Sloan told Utility Dive.
Though some utilities have been obstructive, SCE's interconnection procedures "have evolved into best practices," according to Blunden. Its procedures include clear application requirements, predictable timelines and access to utility authorities when clarifications are needed. As EV penetrations rise, other utilities "can leapfrog some of the trial and error by using those best practices," said Ram Ambatipudi, vice president of business development and utility engagement at EV Connect, an EV charging company… click here for more
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