Few states have comprehensive plans to incorporate expected rise in electric vehicles: report

The adoption of electric vehicles is growing rapidly and utilities are spending billions of dollars to support the necessary charging infrastructure. But in a report released Tuesdaythe American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy warns that only a few states have taken a comprehensive planning approach to transportation electrification, or TE, investments and that more needs to be done to ensure they are done equitably .

“We found that only seven states nationwide require their utilities to submit comprehensive TE plans that put their TE strategy, programs and impact into a single document for public and regulatory review,” research analyst Peter Huether wrote. principal of the ACEEE for transport. accompanying blog post.

While electric vehicles still represent only a small portion of vehicles on American roads today, their adoption is growing rapidly. Utilities are gearing up to support millions of vehicles, and last month Car and Driver reported Electric vehicle registrations rose 60% nationwide in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2021.

President Joe Biden has set a goal that half of all new vehicle sales in the United States will be zero emissions by 2030and called for the development of a national electric vehicle charging system network, with the federal government initially supporting 500,000 chargers by the end of the decade. The administration is preparing to shell out $5 billion to the states to support the program.

Over the past decade, Huether noted, state utility regulators have approved more than $3 billion in TE plans and programs, including investments in charging infrastructure, readiness work, plans alternative tariffs and subsidies for electric vehicle chargers.

“Utility planning efforts need to be more transparent and consistent to ensure accountability,” he said. “The planning process should be continuous, ideally requiring a new plan every few years that gives updates on progress and allows input from regulators and the public.”

The ACEEE report examines 11 major utility TE plans across the country and found that many “have laudable goals and plans to achieve them, others lack in certain areas.”

In particular, the ACEEE stated that equity considerations “must be integrated everywhere to ensure that everyone benefits from the TE transition. Underserved communities need to be meaningfully engaged early and often to identify the needs of these communities. »