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: Public Utility Commission of Nevada EV Workshop on Aug. 23rd

Public Utility Commission of Nevada EV Workshop on Aug. 23rd

19 Jul

The Public Utility Commission of Nevada will hold an Electric Vehicle Workshop on Tuesday August 23, 2016 at 10 AM within their offices in Las Vegas and Carson City, in conjunction with a Notice of Investigation Regarding Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure (Docket No. 16-010180):

The PUCN released an EV investigatory docket on 7/15/2016. Members of the Nevada EV community are invited to attend to learn and contribute to the proceedings.

Interested persons may file comments on or before Monday, August 8, 2016 at 2pm addressing the following investigative questions by the PUCN:

http://pucweb1.state.nv.us/PDF/AxImages/DOCKETS_2015_THRU_PRESENT/2016-1/13360.pdf

1. How should the Commission regulate the purchase of power from charging stations for new customers and customers that meet their obligations under the NV Energy Charging Station Shared Investment Program?

2. How should the Commission address demand charges from high-amperage electric vehicles?

3. Do existing tariffs enable the efficient use of a charging station in conjunction with other programs?

4. How should EV charger deployment occur statewide and should there be a focus on workplace charging?

5. Have and/or should studies be conducted that evaluate the effect of EV penetration on the grid?

The public workshop will be staged in Hearing Room A within each location of the offices for the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada. Address and contact information for both sites are:

Southern Nevada Address: 9075 W Diablo Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89148 Phone: (702) 486-2600
Northern Nevada Address: 1150 E. William Street, Carson City, NV 89701 Phone: (775) 684-6101
Website: http://puc.nv.gov/About/About/

In summary, demand charges are used by a utility to help pay for grid transmission and distribution infrastructure maintenance by the clients who draw the most power from it and also stress the grid infrastructure components the most (transmission lines, transformers, etc).

Demand charges are incurred by a DC Fast Charge (DCFC) station host site whenever the demand for kilowatts pulled from the grid at any given charging session exceeds the rate schedule established between the host site and the utility. One excessive demand session can result in a higher demand charge levied for the whole month billing cycle, rather than spread out over total kilowatt-hour usage by the host site for that same month.

From New York State whitepaper study (web link shown below):

“The earlier monthly demand charge example of a 50-kW average peak demand at $10/kW results in a $500 monthly demand charge.

As a point of comparison, Car Charging Group charges $6.99 for a single DCFC session on its Blink network. It would take 72 DCFC charge sessions per month just to cover the station’s demand charge cost in this example. This cost does not cover all of the other costs such as: the energy cost, the land lease/rental, any charging network fees, etc.

AeroVironment said that a positive DCFC business model does not exist with low charger utilization (rural, corridor stations), even in the Pacific Northwest with a high EV population. Even when all DCFC equipment (hardware and installation) was grant-funded (mainly through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating EconomicRecovery program), the DCFC station income currently only covers roughly one-third of the operating costs, absent outside incentive programs (i.e., from automotive original equipment manufacturers [OEMs]).

So, eliminating demand charges improves the business case, but does not make it economically viable. Improving the business case requires increased utilization. DCFCs are essentially part of a chicken and egg scenario with EV adoption and DCFC use.”

For large corporate customers who already are paying demand charges on their rate schedules, the added demand by a DC Fast Charge station would not change their monthly utility bill noticeably.

However, smaller “Mom and Pop” convenience stores that put DC Fast Charge stations along isolated areas on rural Nevada highways would be affected significantly by an unexpected demand charge from the utility on a monthly utility bill.

Small companies that want to encourage WorkPlace Charging programs by the U.S. Department of Energy would also be affected by a peak demand charge “spike” on their monthly bills.

To solve this problem, many EVSE vendors like ChargePoint and NRG eVgo are requesting that rate schedules for host sites be averaged over each monthly billing cycle on a kilowatt-hour basis to allow for volumetric measurement of demand, rather than a peak demand charge “spike” measurement.

Another solution proposed by other states is to establish a special “DC Fast Charge Tariff”, that would create a special rate schedule relationship with a utility to mitigate or substitute for the intermittent demand charges imposed on existing rate schedule relationships.

Another consideration is how demand charges would affect infrastructure build-out and EV penetration within the state of Nevada, given that there are still less than one percent of electric vehicles on state roadways at this time compared to gasoline-powered vehicles.

Should there be a moratorium on host site EVSE demand charges until EV penetration reaches five percent of the vehicles on the road or some other threshold?

The federal government recently announced incentives being offered to states to help build out a national DC Fast Charge network, including loan guarantees to host sites to allow for better financing and other incentives.

References for each of these issues can be found at these website links:

1. Latest EV announcement from the White House around the electrification of the transportation sector:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/07/21/fact-sheet-obama-administration-announces-federal-and-private-sector

2. What is the role of state utilities in promoting EV’s? (which also justifies the need for a demand charge requirement by the utility if they are administering these programs):

http://www.swenergy.org/data/sites/1/media/documents/publications/documents/How_Leading_Utilities_Are_Embracing_EVs_Feb-2016.pdf

3. Workplace Charging program administered by U.S. Department of Energy:

http://energy.gov/eere/vehicles/ev-everywhere-workplace-charging-challenge

4. New York State whitepaper evaluation:

https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/-/media/Files/Publications/Research/Transportation/Electricity-Rate-Tariff-Options.pdf

Public written comments should be submitted directly to the PUC of Nevada before the August 8th deadline.

NEVA blog posted by Stan Hanel, Outreach Coordinator

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