Southern California Edison, a leader in the transformation of the energy sector, has filed with the California Public Utilities Commission a wide-ranging plan for expanding electric transportation in its service area.
Consistent with SCE’s longstanding role in supporting electric transportation, the plan aims to increase electrification of cars, buses, medium- and heavy-duty trucks and industrial vehicles and equipment.
“This filing lays out a clear plan to accelerate the adoption of electric transportation, which is critical to California achieving its climate change and environmental goals,” said SCE President Ron Nichols.
“The benefits of electric vehicles are growing, but barriers to their adoption still exist — and utilities and other market participants have a clear role to play in overcoming those barriers.”
In addition to innovative programs for passenger vehicle adoption, the plan is tailored to Southern California, where 40 percent of the goods entering the nation are moved through the region’s ports and over its highways. This immense goods movement industry is crucial to the state and local economy, but it is also a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution from heavy commercial and industrial vehicles at ports, warehouses and along freeway corridors.
These projects will benefit all SCE customers, with a particular focus on “disadvantaged communities” — areas that are disproportionately affected by pollution and economic hardship, often located along transportation corridors.
“Transitioning to zero- and near-zero emissions modes of transportation is essential to achieving air quality goals in this region,” said Wayne Nastri, executive officer of the South Coast Air Quality Management District. “We are pleased and encouraged by SCE’s plans that complement our efforts to accelerate this transition, including a focus on disadvantaged communities that are disproportionately impacted by air pollution.”
SCE also released a white paper, “Transportation Electrification: Reducing Emissions, Driving Innovation,” showing the central role transportation electrification must play if California is to succeed in reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases. Electric vehicles currently reduce greenhouse gases by more than 70 percent and smog-producing air pollutants by 85 percent compared to gas-powered cars. As more renewable resources are added to the grid, electric vehicles will increasingly benefit the environment.
The proposed projects in the commission filing complement and expand on SCE’s Charge Ready pilot program, which focuses on installation of EV charging stations in parking lots where passenger vehicles are parked for extended periods of time.
The Charge Ready model, which involves SCE installing all of the electrical infrastructure on a customer’s site to support charging stations and providing a rebate toward the purchase of those charging stations, would be applied to new vehicle segments, including plug-in trucks, electric buses, cargo-handling port equipment and forklifts.
If approved, the overall package in today’s filing would mean more than $570 million in programs and infrastructure to help grow the transportation electrification market over a five-year period and stimulate greenhouse gas reductions to support moving California closer to its 2030 climate change goal of 40 percent below 1990 levels. Supporting the shift to electrification will help reduce tailpipe emissions that contribute to violations of federal health-based ozone standards in Southern California. Many of these projects may have future applicability in other parts of California, supporting progress toward the state’s emission reduction targets.
Funding for medium- and heavy-duty vehicle charging infrastructure. As in the Charge Ready program, SCE would install infrastructure on a customer’s site and provide a rebate toward the purchase of the charging station. In addition to trucks, this program would support plug-in buses, forklifts and other off-road equipment. While it is not part of the current filing, SCE will be exploring options with the South Coast Air Quality Management District and other stakeholders for a zero-emission freight movement program for transporting freight from the Port of Long Beach to inland distribution hubs.
Rates designed to incentivize EV adoption. This attractive rate option for EV owners would eliminate demand charges during an introductory period and stimulate charging during periods of the day that benefit both customers and the grid (i.e., low-cost periods during the day to support integration of renewable energy).
A number of short-term pilot programs are also part of the package:
Customer rebate for residential charging station installation. SCE would provide a rebate to residential customers living in single-family residences or smaller multi-unit dwellings not covered in the Charge Ready program to install a “make-ready,” which is the electrical infrastructure required in a garage or at a parking space to support EV charging. The rebates would alleviate the cost of installing a new circuit and, for some customers, the cost of a new panel.
Building vehicle charging infrastructure for electric transit buses. Similar to the medium- and heavy-duty vehicle program, SCE is proposing a one-year pilot to install infrastructure and provide a rebate toward the purchase of the charging stations for buses. This project will focus specifically on progressive transit agencies that are already preparing to receive electric buses and will provide charging infrastructure to speed adoption of electric transit buses.
Port electrification projects. At the Port of Long Beach, SCE would install charging infrastructure for the electrification of equipment used to unload and move goods containers from ships to off-port transportation vehicles currently powered by diesel engines.
Building urban DC Fast Charger (DCFC) clusters. SCE would install five DC fast-charge sites in urban areas. Each site would have up to five dual-port charging stations for a total of 50 DCFC ports. The sites would be located in publicly accessible urban locations — for example, near a corridor, downtown or in high-density apartments.
Bonus reward to rideshare/taxi drivers who use EVs. SCE proposes a monetary reward to rideshare and taxi drivers who use an EV and exceed a specified number of rides during a given time period. The pilot promotes the use of EVs in rideshare services, increases EV miles traveled and introduces more passengers to the experience of riding in an EV.
The filing’s proposed capital investments are subject to CPUC review and approval and will not be included in SCE’s capital spending and rate base forecasts currently provided through 2020 in its SEC disclosures.