Our objective is to increase adoption of electric vehicles in our service territory and encourage EV charging that optimizes the use of the grid so that all customers benefit.
There is an electric mobility revolution underway that is reshaping business models, spurring more investment in new infrastructure and sparking new and innovative solutions to provide flexibility and resilience to the grid. Electric vehicles (EVs) are a crucial component of our future sustainable economy, and utilities are uniquely positioned to support their use.
AEP must maintain the distribution system to meet the needs of an expanding EV marketplace. We are uniquely positioned to manage impending demand impacts on the grid.
EV adoption and the use of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) (e.g., chargers) are increasing. EV adoption at-scale promises substantial environmental and economic benefits for society. It will also have substantial impacts on many major industries, including the electric utility industry. Increased EV penetration will bring challenges and opportunities for AEP, such as the need to manage operational grid impacts, and the creation of a new frontier of engagement with customers. How AEP addresses these issues can help to realize our goals of increasing the number of electric vehicles in our service territories, and incentivizing EV charging to optimize the grid.
To date, the market has not been able to develop the EV infrastructure needed on its own. That’s why we think AEP is well-positioned to play an important role in supporting EV market development. Lack of charging infrastructure is a critical barrier to the electrification of transportation. We believe that policymakers can leverage the inherent and unique attributes and capabilities of regulated electric utilities to help jumpstart and support development of EV charging infrastructure.
AEP EV/EVSE initiative objectives:
Customer Engagement Objectives:
- Provide a vehicle charging customer experience that is valuable, positive, and low-stress.
- Support mobility customer transportation needs with respect to sustainability, energy efficiency, cost, etc.
- Develop and provide energy solutions and benefits that are shared by all customers.
- Enhance our strategic position as the enabler and integrator of energy solutions into the grid.
Business Model Objectives:
- Future load growth will help offset the need for rate increases.
- Develop programs and price signals to optimize the programs.
AEP must maintain the distribution system to meet the needs of an expanding EV marketplace. We are uniquely positioned to manage impending demand impacts on the grid. AEP can optimize existing fixed grid assets by managing load impact through offering our customers options and rates that encourage the efficient use of the grid. An added benefit would be improving reliability and resilience. These efforts can also be efficiently integrated with ongoing grid modernization activity. The result of such integration not only reduces costs for the individual customer but for all of AEP’s customers.
Broader EV adoption represents potential for all areas served by AEP, from regulated states where we serve customers with fully integrated electric service, to states where our distribution grid serves as the platform integrator. The goal is to simplify the charge-at-home options and enable the most economical charging for customers. To accomplish these goals, we are actively testing technology solutions and time-of-use pricing options that would manage the charging of EVs to optimize the use of the grid. We believe we can provide these benefits cost-effectively for our customers, using the smart grid platform that we’ve already built to support it. AEP first began exploring and learning about EVs and EVSEs nearly a decade ago. In 2011, AEP Ohio and Walmart installed the first free public charging station in Columbus to learn about the impacts it would have on the grid. More recently, thanks to the Smart City initiative, central Ohio continues to be the primary incubator for EV and EVSE technologies in our service territory.
In April 2018, AEP Ohio received regulatory approval to implement an EV charging station rebate program, among other advanced technologies, as part of its Electric Security Plan. Created in coordination with the Smart Columbus initiative, the program will offer incentives for up to 375 charging stations. AEP Ohio requested the implementation of a rebate program to encourage the installation of fast charging stations at government and non-government owned properties, workplace charging, multi-housing-unit buildings and low-income neighborhoods.
We look forward to working cooperatively with our customers, regulators and technology partners to develop the EV charging infrastructure that supports increased adoption of EVs.
Following a legal settlement between Volkswagen and the federal government over violations of the Clean Air Act, Volkswagen agreed to a settlement that included $2 billion to support zero-emission vehicle investment across the U.S. and an additional $2.7 billion allocated to the states for environmental mitigation projects (a portion of which would be eligible for states to support EV adoption and EVSE infrastructure investment in their states). AEP is engaging with stakeholders and working with our states to plan for the deployment of EV charging infrastructure to take advantage of this resource.
With regard to the use of settlement dollars, we are advocating for sufficient funding of EVSE infrastructure, the equitable allocation of those funds across states, support of transportation corridor EV fast chargers, involvement of utilities in planning where to locate chargers, and access to data to help plan and operate the grid to support this charging infrastructure.