3 R.I. Transportation Agencies Issue Report Entitled 'Strategic Policy Guide for Improving Public Access to Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure in Rhode Island'(Part 4 of 4)
- Jan 25, 2022 7:18 pm GMT
(Continued from Part 3 of 4)
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Building out an electric transportation system will require additional decarbonized electric supply, upgrades to the electric grid, innovation in electricity programs, and planning to ensure resilience during power outages. Near full electrification of our light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty vehicles will require roughly 6,000 GWh of electricity on an annual basis - for reference, that's equivalent to about three-quarters of our current annual electricity consumption./47
Not only will our electric grid need to be built out to deliver this much electricity, but we will need to onboard additional renewable energy systems to generate this electricity if we are to meet our net-zero greenhouse gas emissions mandates by 2050./48
First, we need to understand the impacts of electric transportation on the electric grid so we can strategically address them. Indeed, current electric grid planning processes account for expected load growth due to electrification on both the distribution and transmission systems./49
However, as recommended in the technical and economic analysis The Road to 100% Renewable Electricity by 2030 in
Mitigating grid strain
Electric vehicle charging causes strain on the electric grid primarily when vehicles are charged at the same time as peak demand - when Rhode Islanders are using the most electricity at the same time during the course of the year. Peak demand occurs on a daily basis in the afternoon and evening hours, and on an annual basis in the hot summer months./50
Therefore, we should continue programs and policies that incentivize charging vehicles during off-peak hours to help alleviate strain on the electric grid. There is further potential for the future technology to not only reduce grid strain but provide grid benefits through vehicle-to-grid services. Examples include:
* At-home charging: Simply encouraging and enabling at-home charging may help to reduce grid strain due to the lower voltage of the charger. However, at-home charging should be supplemented with clear price and information signals about the true costs of electricity throughout the day.
* Off-peak charging incentive programs: Such programs give drivers a reward based on their charging behavior.
* Demand response programs: These programs pay customers to reduce electricity consumption during hours of peak electricity demand. Electricity use may be ramped down either manually or automatically depending on the capabilities of technology. A growing number of electric vehicles and chargers are capable of accepting signals about peak periods and responding by pausing charging.
* Time-varying rates: Electricity rates for the majority of Rhode Islanders are 'flat rates,' where the cost of electricity is the same regardless of the time at which that electricity is used. In contrast, time-varying rates allow prices to differ throughout the day and the year, thus sending more accurate signals about the true cost of electricity. A prerequisite for time-varying rates is deploying advanced metering infrastructure that can record electricity consumption at various intervals throughout the day./51
* Demand charges: Another common type of rate structure charges an additional price based on how much electricity is demanded at any instance. DCFC charge vehicles quickly because they are capable of transferring large amounts of electricity, and therefore have high demand. Demand charges provide a signal to incentivize DCFC to ramp down charging rates during times of peak demand. Indeed, at least one company's DCFC comes standard with technology that can automatically ramp down charging rates to avoid demand charges.
* Vehicle-to-grid services: Future vehicle technology may be able to provide vehicle-to-grid services that benefit the electric grid and reduce system costs. These technological capabilities should continue to be monitored and, when they enter the market, may be incentivized through strategically designed pay-for-performance programs.
* Energy efficiency: Increases in electricity demand and consumption can be offset by foundational investments in energy efficiency, which is our least-cost resource. Utility energy efficiency programs are required by Least-Cost Procurement statute, and it is imperative to continue these programs as we electrify.
* System utilization: While time-varying rates and demand charges are responsive to system-wide price dynamics, optimizing system utilization is responsive to the dynamics of the local electric grid. Consistent with concepts presented in Power Sector Transformation,
* Grid Modernization: Modernizing our electric grid involves not just replacing or repairing equipment at the end of its life, but making proactive investments that result in cost-effective benefits to customers. Those benefits may come in the form of easier or less costly integration of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and distributed energy resources, improved reliability and customer service, and avoided costs to operate and maintain the electric grid.
"And I have to say it -- time of use rates for electricity! I am concerned everyone will plug in while they are at work - and further tax the electric system in the afternoons when it's already at its peak. Let's give folks an incentive to plug in at night/evening -- and the infrastructure to do it!"
Access and capacity
Information about the ease and cost of hooking up new electric vehicle charging stations to the electric grid should be readily available and up to date so developers and customers can make decisions with full knowledge.
Furthermore, businesses with fleets may consider partnerships that optimize use of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and thereby reduce upfront and ongoing costs. Coordination among fleets and with the electric grid can also improve system utilization. The utility or third party may provide value as a sort of matchmaker between businesses to share charging station infrastructure and locate the infrastructure appropriately on the electric grid.
"[M]y company ... integrates storage in our DC fast charging units to reduce that strain that's created on local utility grids ... [and] also leveraging that storage to charge the battery at the charging unit overnight and then being able to charge the vehicles directly from the battery during the day so you're capturing that off peak energy making sure that you're lowering your operational expenses for the site host and then you're also making it less costly for the drivers to charge their vehicle."
The transition to electric vehicles immediately reduces greenhouse gas emissions relative to internal combustion engines fueled by gasoline, and provides immediate public health benefits. However, the transition to electric vehicles only reduces greenhouse gas emissions to the levels required by the Act on Climate if our electricity demand is met by renewable energy resources.
"I love when I go someplace, and I see a parking lot with a canopy over it with solar-sourced electricity to charge the vehicles. I would love to see something like this more widely utilized here in
"The one thing that I would really love to see is more push ... [to] require or incentivize having solar over existing parking lots or over any parking lot for that matter. It puts that all that impervious cover to good use, and it would provide a direct source of energy right there where the charging station is."
As climate change causes more frequent and extreme weather conditions, risk of power outages may increase if not mitigated. Therefore, the transition to vehicles that run on electricity also comes with the risk of not being able to charge those vehicles during power outages. Note that gas stations are also impacted by power outages and must rely on backup generation (either a generator or microgrid) to pump gas. While gas stations have generally had decades to build up resilience investments, resilience should be a consideration at the outset for electric vehicle charging stations./54
This risk can be mitigated in several ways:
First, on-site backup power, such as a battery energy storage system, can provide continued ability to charge during a power outage.
Second, some public charging stations may be designated as resilience hubs - an integrated combination of electric vehicle charging stations, renewable energy, and battery energy storage - and may be available for charging even when the electric grid is down. Such resilience hubs may be strategically located throughout the state and in proximity to evacuation routes and transportation corridors.
Third, mobile charging units - essentially battery energy systems on trucks - may be deployed to meet drivers where they and their vehicles are./55
The State may consider exploring a public-private partnership to offer no-cost roadside assistance specifically for electric vehicle drivers.
Building out resilience in our transportation system broadly, and deploying a network of resilient charging capability specifically, should be further considered, integrated into other statewide and emergency planning exercises via coordination with the
As part of its next Evacuation Route study, EMA should conduct an internal audit related to charging station access during times of emergency. In this audit, EMA should inventory charging stations along evacuation routes, identify needs for additional charging station infrastructure, and assess the need for mobile or other emergency charging services.
"Are plans established to deal with EVs ... in the case of natural disasters that may render electrical charging infrastructure disabled?"
"I think the plan should include [
Installing and maintaining electric vehicle charging infrastructure requires a set of skills related to electrical trades, fluency with software and information technology, and construction methods. As we accelerate deployment of charging stations in
"... [M]ake sure that electricians that are doing the work installing charging stations are properly trained in
There are several secondary school programs in
Becoming an electrician in
Automotive training programs may need to maintain or expand their partnerships with manufacturers to access current and new technology. Retraining of those currently in the workforce, especially those who do not work at a dealership will need to be supported. Some jobs may be lost as electric car models need fewer repairs and their repair is limited by technology.
More electricians may need to be trained and opportunities for electrician apprenticeships will need to be expanded. There will need to be a pipeline for minority students to enter the trades and join unions. Some opportunities that may be explored include youth skills programs, grant funding to support workforce development, public-private partnerships to expand training access, and regional coordination. Lastly, incentive programs and workforce development programs should consider how to support workers in fossil fuel-driven industries, like gas stations, oil service stations, and others.
Public entities should also consider their procurement practices for electric vehicle charging infrastructure vendors as some procurement choices may affect the abilities of minority businesses enterprises from winning contract bids. Entities may examine the scale at which procurements occur, and whether procurements are done for individual projects in parallel or in series. If procurement of services for electric vehicle charging equipment is parsed into smaller projects, more small local businesses could potentially bid on those contracts. If a set of projects or services go out to bid separately but in parallel, the procuring body may be better able to meet a minimum target of minority business enterprises in their portfolio of selected vendors. Carefully considering vendors both for individual projects and as a whole portfolio will ensure a minimum number of jobs and the economic benefits of vehicle electrification will be delivered to communities historically underserved and overburdened by our transportation and procurement system.
Data Tracking & Reporting
Data is required not only to track progress towards electrification and greenhouse gas reduction targets in
Transportation metrics such as vehicle miles traveled (VMT), the makes and models of electric vehicles registered in
* VMT can be used to estimate on-road transportation emissions and driving trends. VMT is estimated by the
* The makes and models of electric vehicles registered in
* Understanding public charging station usage is critical to the efficient buildout of charging infrastructure. If stations are always in use, more stations can be added nearby to satisfy the demand for charging. Conversely, if a charging station sees low amounts of traffic, additional stations can be prioritized in other areas.
Data collection is a cross-agency effort requiring collaboration between the
Methodologies to improve data collection are always considered; one recent development uses an electric vehicle VIN decoder to determine the number of electric vehicles registered in
Other transportation data collection efforts underway include historical electric vehicle counts, the average age of vehicles by zip code, and information on the secondary market for electric vehicles in
Electric vehicle data, transportation trends, and demographic data can be compiled into a clean transportation dashboard for public use. Some states have dashboards already; a good example is the Evaluate Dashboard created by Atlas Public Policy for
In addition to tracking vehicle data, state agencies should also track data related to vehicle electrification's impact on macroeconomic factors (e.g. jobs and businesses) as well as public health metrics (e.g. environmental quality and incidence of asthma). Doing so may require additional coordination with the Department of 56
Understanding the demographics of people who purchase electric vehicles is important to ensure equitable electric vehicle adoption and provide access to resources. Who are the main buyers of electric vehicles? What age group is buying electric vehicles most frequently? What level of income is most likely to purchase an EV? Are EVs being purchased by homeowners and apartment dwellers equally? Where are these EVs being sold in
2022 Priority Actions for EC4 Agencies
This section prioritizes a specific meaningful action item for all agencies represented by the
* Coordinate quarterly report outs from agencies on progress and, in coordination with the
- Point of Contact: EC4 Chairperson
* Lead-by-Example with electric vehicle charging infrastructure at state parks and beaches.
- Point of Contact: Administrator,
- Point of Contact: Commissioner
* Conduct a study on state revenue streams for transportation infrastructure. This study should include a review of alternative revenue generation mechanisms and, in coordination with the
- Point of Contact: Assistant Director Department of Health
* Quantify health benefits of clean transportation investments and identify opportunities to leverage health-based funding streams (e.g., via partnerships with health insurers or providers) to promote electrification of vehicles and mobility equipment in underserved and overburdened communities.
- Point of Contact:
* As part of its next Evacuation Route study,
- Point of Contact:
* Hold industry convenings with electric vehicle charging station developers, auto mechanics, and electricians to understand projected needs and challenges as electric vehicle adoption increases, and to identify potential future training and development opportunities.
- Point of Contact: Chief Operating Officer
* Develop a detailed strategy to fully electrify the public bus fleet, including any necessary modifications to RIPTA's infrastructure, workforce, route planning, or other core aspects of operating a successful public transit fleet.
- Point of Contact: Chief of
- Point of Contact: Director,
* Evaluate the costs and benefits of proposals that create an integrated strategy in
- Point of Contact: Administrator
* Determine the best way(s) to incorporate vehicle electrification into the State Guide Plan, whether as a separate element or a component of existing elements, and ensure that either this Strategic Policy Guide is adopted as a discrete element or that amendments are made to one or more existing State Guide Plan elements.
- Point of Contact: Associate Director
* In collaboration with other relevant state agencies, inventory state owned fleet vehicles designated for use by the Departments within the EOHHS structure, in cooperation with the State's plan to transition to electric vehicles.
- Point of Contact: Director of Legislative and Constituent Commerce RI
* Convene business community representatives and coordinate next steps pertaining to fleet electrification and charging station installation for new and expanding businesses, such as through existing or new programs and support services and targeted outreach.
- Point of Contact: Executive Vice President of
* Promote deployment of charging stations and electric fleet conversions for private and public entities, with an emphasis on supporting municipal, multi-unit housing, non-profit and commercial properties. RIIB will utilize both existing and new financing and grant programs to accelerate the investment of public and private capital via the Bank's relationships with state, municipal and private sector stakeholders.
- Point of Contact: Managing Director
* Assess the extent to which the CRMC has a role in permitting for electric vehicle charging infrastructure; whether the CRMC may weigh non-polluting or zero-emissions marine technology in coastal permitting; and, assess ways in which the CRMC may incentivize zero-emissions transportation activities in the permitting process.
- Point of Contact: Executive Director
Considerations for the General Assembely.
This Plan proposes a number of next steps the
* Enact a 100% Renewable Energy Standard to enable transportation sector decarbonization.
* Direct DOT and OER in consultation with DEM to strategically deploy federal
* Identify funding to support (and sustain) incentive programs to encourage electric vehicle adoption.
* Consider rights to charge for Rhode Islanders who rent or lease.
* Consider rights to repair electric vehicles and charging stations.
* Consider legislation requiring a minimum number of public parking spots having charging station access.
* Consider passing design and functionality standards for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
* Consider requirements to advance building codes to ready buildings for electric vehicle adoption.
* Provide guidance on sustainable revenue mechanisms to support transportation infrastructure and transit services in an electric transportation
In developing this Guide, we heard from Rhode Islanders that addressing climate change, alleviating public health burdens, and improving equity are critical and urgent priorities. Electrifying transportation is one strategy within a portfolio of broader mobility solutions that takes immediate action to address all three of these priorities.
This Strategic Policy Guide synthesizes eight categories of needs identified by the public and by stakeholder organizations. For each need, the Project Team has distilled priorities that should guide future programs, policies, actions, and potential legislation. Within these priorities, we integrate equity by considering how our collective action can connect historically underrepresented and overburdened frontline communities with the energy, economic, and environmental benefits of decarbonization. In addition to integrating these priorities throughout, we also compile these priorities at the outset of our recommendations - these priorities are essential for an equitable strategy to improve access to electric transportation.
Furthermore, the Project Team heard loud and clear that we need to demonstrate action and progress, not just planning. In response, we worked with every state agency represented on the
The Project Team also respectfully identifies some potential topics members of the
Acknowledging that we have substantial work to do and that our ongoing work will need to evolve as electric vehicle penetration increases, the Project Team considers this Strategic Policy Guide as the beginning of our work rather than the completion of a deliverable. Our intent is for this Strategic Policy Guide to be a working document that will continue to coordinate action in the years to come. Along with the opportunities presented within this Guide, robust investments in renewable energy, clean thermal technologies, and community resilience will also be vital. Working together, we remain confident that
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The full report including footnotes can be viewed at: http://www.energy.ri.gov/documents/Transportation/Electrifying%20Transportation%20Guide%20Dec%202021.pdf
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