With $768 Million in June, California Continues EV Infrastructure Investment

CPUC Commissioner Carla Peterman explains the state's investment plan for building out electric vehicle charging stations in public spaces and homes.
July 11, 2018, 11am PDT | rzelen | @rzelen
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In late May, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved investing $768 million in programs and projects to broadly expand the network of electric vehicle charging stations and other infrastructure throughout the state of California. With more than 400,000 electric cars on the road in California, The Planning Report sat down with CPUC Commissioner Carla Peterman for an interview to discuss the significance of this investment, the role of the utilities in electric charging infrastructure, and how energy storage fits into the procurement decisions surrounding the state's electricity grid in the coming years. 

Peterman, who previously served on the California Energy Commission and directed the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative (now Veloz), outlined how the investments demonstrate California’s commitment to EVs, seed infrastructure for the early adopters, and \ leave room for innovative models to come forward and make EV charging cheaper in the next few years. California's ambitious goal, established by the governor via executive order earlier this year, charges the state to get 5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030. Peterman, who worked on drafting the executive order, believes that the state is undergoing a transportation transformation towards electrification. With the CPUC's funds going to the investor-owned utilities within California (Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric), the utilities plan to increase the incentives for installing EV charging and participating in pilot programs. 

As California lawmakers debate the future of the electricity system as a whole, Peterman provided context on how the Public Utilities Commission was addressing the role of utilities in transportation electrification. She believes that it has three parts: one an infrastructure provider, second as a distribution grid manager, and third as a fuel provider. With the decarbonization of the electricity grid remaining as one of the Brown administration's highest priorities, Peterman believes that electric vehicles could be used to store excess renewable energy and help integrate low-carbon solutions that can provide ratepayer benefits. 

Read the full interview in The Planning Report

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Published on Monday, June 25, 2018 in The Planning Report
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