CPUC Approves EVSE Installation Drive at 350 Sites
As Utility Seeks to Bolster Zero-Emission Vehicle Use:
$45 Million Effort Targets Businesses, Multi-Family Units
San Diego Gas & Electric says it will install as many as 3,500 electric vehicle charging stations at 350 sites as the California Public Utilities Commission has approved its Electric Vehicle Grid-Integration pilot project as a $45 million initiative.
The CPUC nod is a “green light,” SDG&E says, “for the company to own and install thousands of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at businesses and multi-family communities, including in underserved neighborhoods, throughout San Diego and south Orange Counties.
“An important program benefit is that it should maximize the use of renewable energy to charge electric vehicles and minimize the need for new fossil-fuel power plants,” states a release.
The program will feature “dynamic pricing that reflects locational constraints, time of day, and the availability of renewable energy,” CPUC says, putting it “at the leading edge of rate design, integration of distributed energy resources, and renewables integration.”
Current Barriers to EV Use Are ‘Sobering’
“Today, the San Diego region has only 19,000 EVs and the barriers to clean transportation are particularly sobering,” the announcement states, noting that half of the utility’s customers live in multi-family communities.
“Without access to vehicle charging, there is virtually no way for these residents to ever become part of the solution to significantly reduce air pollution or to create real personal savings by eliminating gasoline bills,” SDG&E says, stating that its Electric Vehicle Grid-Integration initiative “will help address gaps like this in the market and ensure charging is accessible to all customers.”
10% for Disadvantaged Communities
The utility plans to install charging stations at as many as 350 businesses and multi-family sites, with ten chargers at each location for a total of 3,500 separate units. At least 10% are destined for disadvantaged communities. SDG&E will own the chargers.
The program features special rates that encourage EV drivers to charge their cars when electricity supply, including renewable energy, is plentiful and energy prices are low. “With rates encouraging off-peak charging, vehicles will be efficiently integrated onto the grid, helping to avoid on-peak charging that drives the need to build more power plants and other electric infrastructure.”
‘Driving on Sunshine’
SDG&E’s notes that its energy portfolio is made up of 33% renewable energy and no coal, so “drivers will be plugging into one of the cleanest electric grids in the country.
“Furthermore, with the pilot’s special rate encouraging drivers to charge exactly at the times of day when solar power is at its height, customers will literally be driving on sunshine.”
“SDG&E’s project will overcome many current obstacles to EV growth and reassure local EV drivers that they will have a place to charge their vehicles,” the utility says.
CPUC approved the SDG&E’s Electric Vehicle Grid-Integration pilot program and imposed a $45 million spending cap last week. The agency noted that it rejected a $65 million initiative, requiring “a pilot program more consistent with goals to ensure ratepayer protection and competition, including increased reporting, a shorter pilot period, a smaller budget, and improved coordination with related clean energy programs.”
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Source: San Diego Gas & Electric with Fleets & Fuels follow-up