Consumer-owned utilities across the Northwest can increase revenue, yield operational benefits and potentially lower rates by effectively managing the increase of electric vehicles among their customers.
“It is rare to find an opportunity that benefits the electric utility, the consumer, the regional economy, and the climate,” said Todd Reeve, CEO, Bonneville Environmental Foundation. “We’re honored to be working with our committed utility partners to advance vehicle electrification and realize these benefits."
The positive economics and operations are detailed in two new documents recently published by the BEF. BEF partnered with the Bonneville Power Administration, Energy and Environmental Economics, Northwest Requirements Utilities and Forth to produce the analysis in the documents.
The EV Cost Benefit Study shows that in several different operational scenarios with managed or unmanaged charging, utilities stand to make $300 to $1,000 dollars per vehicle. The analysis shows that benefits stretch beyond those that can be realized by local utilities and their customers. The analysis also shows that on average, electric vehicles adopted through 2030 are estimated to add $4,100 per vehicle to the local economy.
“NRU saw the value in collaborating with BEF to provide accurate and applicable information about the costs and benefits to NRU’s membership from promoting EV adoption in rural communities,” said John Francisco, CEO, NRU. “Now utilities have actionable information about this subject which can help them shape their EV efforts to mutually benefit the utility and those communities served by the utility.”
The Utility EV Planning Guide expands on the cost-benefit analysis and provides information to local utility boards and managers that allows them to maximize the benefits electric vehicle growth can provide. The Guide provides step-by-step core actions utilities can take to not only grow electric vehicle ownership in their territories, but also offers information on goals and challenges utilities can consider as they manage electric vehicle expansion and charging infrastructure.
"Electric vehicles save money for drivers, help keep electric rates low for everyone, and strengthen the local economy by keeping thousands of dollars circulating locally," noted Jeff Allen, Executive Director of Forth. "All of these advantages are more important now than ever. Forth is excited to be working with electric utilities and partners across the region to help them take advantage of this exciting technology."
To advance the concepts in the guide and help utilities to test the cost benefits of expanding electric vehicles in their territories, BEF invited Northwest consumer owned utilities to submit proposals for a small amount of seed funding to expand their electric vehicle programming. From the submissions it received, BEF is considering funding seven pilot initiatives that will advance understanding of the operational and economic benefits of EVs to electric utilities.
“BPA is pleased that the small investment it makes in BEF could lead to a big, positive economic impact for our customers,” said Dan James, BPA Deputy Administrator. “EVs are dynamic. They offer new load and revenue and can be used as demand response tools for utilities. It is encouraging to see the positive economic and operational impact electric vehicle expansion could have for BPA’s power customers.”