Can you hear that? It’s the sound of dozens of red carpets that states, cities and utilities are rolling out to welcome the anticipated electric vehicle (EV) revolution in the United States.
So far in 2017, EQ Research has sniffed out and reviewed 29 new dockets — initiated at public utilities commissions in 18 states and the District of Columbia — that include proposals relevant to EVs and/or EV charging. Utilities and municipalities also have proposed or launched a number of related activities outside of the formal regulatory process. One thing has become very evident from our research: progress is being driven on multiple fronts, making EV deployment one of the more “equal opportunity” policy pursuits in the clean-energy arena.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the new EV-related activities initiated in 2017, as summarized in the handy map below.
Utility Proposals & Plans
Investor-owned utilities (IOUs) have proposed an armada of new EV programs, new EV-charging rates, revisions to existing EV-charging rates, and EV-charging incentives in 2017. Some of these proposals are baked into general rate cases, while others are filed outside of the rate-case process. Notable proposals have been filed in:
- California, where the state’s three major electric IOUs filed transportation-electrification proposals, pursuant to S.B. 350 of 2015;
- The District of Columbia, where Pepco filed a proposal to create a Plug-In EV Pilot Program that includes five new EV rate options;
- Florida, where TECO plans to educate its customers on EV operation and maintenance;
- Iowa, where Alliant Energy proposed a new EV-charging rate for residential customers and general-service customers;
- Massachusetts, where Eversource is seeking to invest $45 million in EV infrastructure and vehicle conversions over a five-year period; and
- New York, where National Grid proposed an electric-transportation initiative that includes three separate programs.
In addition, several utilities — including Atlantic City Electric (NJ), and Con Edison (NY) — have signaled in recent state regulatory filings their interest in launching new EV programs or projects in the future.
So far in 2017, a handful of states have launched broad grid-modernization initiatives that encompass EV issues. In Missouri, the Public Service Commission is exploring questions related to its role in promoting a competitive market for EVs, as well as its role in shaping the solar landscape, advanced metering infrastructure, PACE financing and new rate-design options. In neighboring Illinois, citing the advent of newer energy technologies (including EVs), the Illinois Commerce Commission has commenced a sweeping “utility of the future” proceeding.
Other states have opened dockets to tackle narrower sets of issues related to transportation electrification. For example, Michigan regulators are laying the groundwork to study future regulatory and infrastructure issues as demand for EVs grows.
Many U.S. municipalities have demonstrated strong, innovative leadership with respect to solar deployment. And now, some are setting their sights on EVs in 2017.
For example, four major West Coast cities — Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle — issued a request for information (RFI) in January inviting automakers to describe plans for meeting an aggregate order from the four cities to buy or lease up to 24,000 EVs for their fleets.
In Illinois, the Chicago Department of Transportation joined a partnership to support EV chargers under the federally funded Drive Clean Station Program.
And in California, San Francisco recently approved an ordinance that requires new residential, commercial and municipal buildings to include sufficient electrical infrastructure to simultaneously charge EVs in 20% of the building’s parking spaces. Fremont’s city council adopted a green-building standard that requires new housing developments to include wiring for EV chargers — following the adoption last year of a separate requirement for new residential and commercial developments to provide EV-ready parking spaces.
Show Me the Money
And then there are rebates. Several states and utilities have launched incentive programs in 2017 to support EVs and/or EV chargers. For example, New York’s Drive Clean Initiative will provide $70 million for EV rebates, consumer-awareness activities and other projects, with $55 million allocated for rebates of up to $2,000 for the purchase of new plug-in hybrid electric cars, all-electric cars and hydrogen fuel-cell cars. Rhode Island’s DRIVE program offers rebates ranging from $500 to $2,500 for the purchase or lease of an eligible EV. In California, PG&E began offering EV rebates to residential customers under the Clean Fuel Rebate program, which is part of the state’s Low-Carbon Fuel Standard initiative. And in Utah, Rocky Mountain Power is offering a $10,000 discount on the purchase of a 2017 Nissan LEAF.
If you’re having a hard time keeping track of policy developments related to EVs and EV infrastructure, EQ Research can help. Our EVs, Please!™ subscription service helps businesses, non-profits and other EV stakeholders stay on top of regulatory proposals relevant to EVs and/or EV infrastructure. EVs, Please!™ covers new dockets initiated at public utility commissions in all 50 U.S. states, providing twice-monthly digests of state and utility proposals that could impact EV markets.
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