Report Identifies New Tools, Strategies for Utilities and State Regulators to Expedite Truck Electrification
A new report from Environmental Defense Fund shows that proactive infrastructure investments will be key to accelerating the long-term transition to zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles. The report identifies key actions regulators and state legislators can take to allow both public and investor-owned utilities to get ahead of electricity demand growth, making it easier, faster and more affordable for fleets to electrify.
The report’s 10 recommendations focus on how policymakers can maximize the benefits of proactive grid investments while minimizing the risk and total cost to ratepayers. At the center of the recommendations is the necessity for strong collaboration between state regulators and utilities and the need to create incentivizes for proactive, forecast-based grid expansion that is also protective of ratepayers.
“We need to ensure utility decisionmakers have the tools and authority to quickly and cost-efficiently build the infrastructure that will power the next generation of American trucks,” said report author Cole Jermyn, attorney, Energy Transition, Environmental Defense Fund. “The energy transition is going to require significant electrification growth, and having these solutions in place will be a major advantage for any state aiming to meet ambitious truck electrification and climate goals.”
Electrifying trucks and buses at the scale required to deeply cut pollution from the nation's most emitting sector will require an expansion of current grid capabilities, yet some utilities are not currently keeping pace with the speed that fleets and state goals require. Current regulatory processes require utilities to wait for specific requests to expand charging infrastructure. While fleets are often able to procure zero-emissions vehicles and chargers in months to two years, new grid upgrades for electric trucks and buses can take upwards of five years or more.
“At US Foods, we continue to adopt alternative fuel solutions such as the addition of battery-electric powered trucks to fulfill our sustainability commitments, and getting the grid capacity needed to power the vehicles is a critical component of our forward-looking plans,” said Ken Marko, fleet sustainability senior manager, US Foods. “The adoption of the policies outlined in this report could go a long way toward accelerating the transition of additional battery-electric powered trucks as we achieve our science-based emissions reduction targets as approved by the Science Based Targets initiative.”
The report calls for regulators and utilities to account for projected medium- and heavy-duty vehicle electrification growth in their forecasting and planning. A recent ICCT report found that peak charging demand from these vehicles could be more than 10 gigawatts nationally by 2030 – which is equivalent to 10 average nuclear power plants – and this load growth will increase significantly beyond 2030.
The recommendations in the report build upon findings from a previous EDF commissioned report which showed that utilities can cover the cost of infrastructure upgrades needed for fleet charging without raising consumers’ electricity rates.
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