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Energy News Network: Virginia Regulators Seek Input on How State Should Prepare for Electric Vehicles

Posted by Elizabeth McGowan on Jun 23, 2020

Energy News Network covered the Va. State Corporation Commission's inquiry on electric vehicles, quoting AEE's Matt Stanberry and Virginia AEE's Harry Godfrey. Read excerpts below and the entire Energy News Network piece here.

State legislators jumpstarted a major grid decarbonization initiative by greenlighting the Virginia Clean Economy Act, which kicks in July 1. However, reining in Virginia’s next fossil fuel frontier — transportation emissions — is a more enormous, complex and far-reaching undertaking. Statewide, the sector has long outpaced electric utilities, accounting for 45% of its heat-trapping gases. Enter electric vehicles, hailed as a key solution to that pollution...

Specifically, commissioners want to gather perspectives on how energy storage, public charging stations and the intricacies of rate design mesh with affordability and reliability of electricity service to consumers. Matt Stanberry is a managing director at Advanced Energy Economy who tracks vehicle electrification policy nationwide. He’s encouraged that Virginia regulators are trying to “wrap their arms” around electric vehicle technology early on, when the state’s market penetration is slightly below the 2% national average.

“It’s good to see the SCC open this docket because taking that action is one of the best practices we recommend to commissions across the country,” Stanberry said. “A couple of years ago, regulators in states across the country said, ‘Hey wait, this is a big new load center. We should step back and take a look at the whole regulatory picture.’”

Electric vehicles can be beneficial to the grid and save ratepayers money if states, utilities and regulators launch early education campaigns, Stanberry said. He recommended such efforts be modeled on energy efficiency programs for buildings.

“Most folks just lack basic information on the vehicles and optimizing benefits such as charging at off-peak times when the grid has excess capacity,” he said. “That doesn’t require new infrastructure and it drives down rates for everybody.”

In addition to consumer education, Stanberry suggested that Virginia focus on ensuring that charging infrastructure keeps pace with electric vehicle adoption, creating a rate design that maximizes benefits for all parties, and forming partnerships with a full range of fleet operators intent on electrifying their vehicles...

“Fleets provide an enormous opportunity for storage,” said Harry Godfrey, the executive director of Virginia Advanced Energy Economy. “I expect we’ll see some policy on that...”

Godfrey, head of the state's Advanced Energy Economy, is eager for Virginia to dig in. "We're still in the early days," he said. "I suspect this docket will open up more dockets and there will be plenty of time to delve into details..." 

Read the entire Energy News Network piece here.

Topics: United In The News