Electric Transportation in Integrated Resource Planning by Publicly Owned Electric Utilities

Senate Bill 350 (de León, Chapter 547, Statutes of 2015) requires publicly owned electric utilities to consider transportation electrification in their integrated resource planning and adopt an integrated resource plan (IRP) and a process for updating it at least every five years by January 1, 2019. The California Energy Commission will review IRPs adopted by publicly owned utilities for consistency with SB 350 and, if needed, provide comments, suggestions, and requests for more information. This is a sub-proceeding to explore the capabilities and challenges faced by publicly owned utilities including:

  • Planning for electric vehicle growth
  • Funding charging infrastructure and utility system upgrades
  • Addressing the impacts of electric passenger vehicles, transit buses and freight trucks on grid management, renewable electricity growth and accounting for greenhouse gas emission reduction

One outcome of this sub-proceeding may be the development of Energy Commission guidelines for publicly owned utilities regarding one or more aspects of electric transportation.

Transportation electrification could include several electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric applications, such as trucks used in freight movement, refuse collection and port drayage, a multitude of off-road applications, electric and plug in electric passenger vehicles and light trucks, transit buses and school buses, and electric rail.

Other federal, state and local government programs complement each other to stimulate the development and deployment of electric transportation options. For example, Governor Brown’s zero emission executive order directs state government to ensure that electric charging infrastructure is available to support cumulative growth of one million electric passenger cars in California by 2020 and 1.5 million by 2025, representing 15 percent of new car sales in that year. The California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate requires automakers to provide specified numbers of ZEVs for sale in California. Auto manufacturers are in the process of introducing a few dozen models, including vehicles with extended (200 mile) all electric operation range. CARB provides zero emission vehicle rebates that, combined with federal tax credits, reduce purchase prices by up to $10,000 per vehicle and help spur future technology research and development improvements. Additionally, vehicle costs are decreasing as technology advances and economy scale manufacturing occur.

As a consequence, by mid - 2016, over 220,000 electric vehicles had been operating in California, representing roughly 40 percent of the U.S. sales total and the growth rate has accelerated as shown in the figure below..

Graph of electric vehicles sales in California, representing roughly 40 percent of the U.S. sales total and the growth rate.
Note: Approximation assumes CA sales are 52% of national sales.
Reference: http://www.hybridcars.com

The Energy Commission has complemented these programs by co-funding electric vehicle charging infrastructure in homes, multi-family apartment buildings and condominiums, workplaces, public destinations and highway corridors, hydrogen fueling stations, and regional readiness plans to support deployment of both electric charging connectors and hydrogen fuel cell electric fueling stations . Some of the funding partners include utilities. As a result, by mid-2016, approximately 13,000 charging stations had been installed in California by multiple entities. However, future growth is dependent on continued multiple investment sources. The Energy Commission also funds zero emission and near zero emission medium and heavy duty vehicle demonstrations that require charging and fueling systems along with research and development projects to explore the connection of electric vehicle charging, smart grids, energy storage and vehicle grid integration. Electric utilities play critical roles in meeting customer needs, achieving greenhouse gas emission reductions and ensuring electric system reliability. Publicly owned electric utilities are significant contributors because they provide power for roughly a quarter of statewide retail electricity consumption.


For more information contact:

Tim Olson
California Energy Commission
Phone: (916) 654-4528
E-mail: Tim.Olson@energy.ca.gov

Noel Crisostomo
California Energy Commission
Phone: (916) 653-8625
E-mail: Noel.Crisostomo@energy.ca.gov

David Vidaver
California Energy Commission
Phone: (916) 654-4656
E-mail: David.Vidaver@energy.ca.gov

News media, please call: Media & Public Communications Office - 916-654-4989.

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