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CleanTechnica: Electric Vehicles Can Lower Electricity Prices

Posted by Charles Morris on Feb 27, 2019

This CleanTechnica post discusses how EV ownership can benefit electric ratepayers just as much, if not more, than their owners. The article references AEE’s webinar EVs 101: What Regulators Need to Know About Electric Vehicles, which featured a panel of experts including Proterra’s Eric McCarthy, Siemens' Chris King, and AEE's Matt Stanberry. See excerpts below and read the entire CleanTechnica story here:

Regular readers of this column are well aware of the wonderful benefits of EV ownership. However, electric vehicles can also have a positive impact on the electric grid, serving as the perfect complement to renewable energy sources. Jeff McMahon, writing in Forbes, notes that a growing body of evidence supports the idea that the spread of EVs is good news for electric ratepayers.

“These vehicles plug into our electricity system, and a number of cost-benefit studies are showing that this can be really beneficial to all ratepayers, not just the drivers of the vehicles,” said Matt Stanberry of the trade group Advanced Energy Economy (AEE). “As you increase electricity sales for charging the vehicles, it has the effect of driving down rates for all ratepayers because it spreads the fixed cost of the system out across a larger volume of sales.”

McMahon cites a 2017 study by M.J. Bradley & Associates, which analyzed the impact of EVs in five US states, and found that the benefits flow not only to EV owners in saved fuel and maintenance costs, and to society in reduced carbon emissions, but also to electric ratepayers in the form of reduced fixed costs. In fact, the study found that in some cases utility ratepayers benefited more than the EV owners themselves. For example, in New York the study found $265 in annual benefits from a plug-in vehicle: $18 for the owner, $166 for the utility customer, and $81 for society in reduced emissions.

Siemens, which manufactures EV charging equipment, has obvious reasons to take an interest in the issue. “We have heard the complaint come up that the utility-funded programs for EV charging infrastructure are a subsidy to EV owners, who tend to be well off in the first place and are driving their Teslas,” said Chris King, Chief Policy Officer at Siemens Digital Grid. “That couldn’t be more wrong.”

“California, which has close to half a million [EVs], is looking at net benefits already exceeding $1 billion. And this is to non-participating ratepayers,” King said during a recent webinar. King estimates that an EV can produce $2,000 to $2,500 in benefits over its 10-year lifespan. From this standpoint, investments in charging infrastructure benefit all ratepayers, not just EV owners. “It’s not a subsidy in any way to those EV drivers,” he says….

See the complete CleanTechnica story here.

Topics: AEE In The News