PG&E Electric Vehicle Projects Approved
Top consumer smart grid news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.
PG&E won approval from CPUC to develop two new, five-year programs aimed at accelerating widespread electric vehicle adoption and combating climate change. The new programs will increase fast charging options for consumers as well as electric charging infrastructure for non-light-duty fleet vehicles. PG&E will pay for and aid installation of the infrastructure from the electric grid to the charger.
The Minnesota PUC has approved a residential TOU pilot rate for Xcel Energy, a tool the utility hopes will help it engage customers, use price signals to shift energy usage and bring more renewable energy onto the system. Xcel customers could pay almost double the standard rate during peak hours, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., while from midnight to 6 a.m. the rate would be about half the norm.
Several public power utilities are included on top 10 lists compiled by NREL for utility green pricing programs. Using information provided by utilities, NREL has developed "Top 10" rankings of utility green pricing programs for 2017 in the following categories: total sales, total number of customer participants, and participation rate (the percentage of utility customers that participated in green pricing programs).
Ameren Missouri has filed a six-year, $550 million energy efficiency proposal with state regulators, expanding on previous efforts and offering more than a dozen new programs. If approved, it would be the largest energy efficiency program in the state's history. The program would run 2019-2024. Ameren's proposal includes annual expenditures of almost $92 million, with a goal of saving 2 billion kWh.
California utilities will invest nearly $768 million to expand a network of charging stations and build other infrastructure for electric vehicles as the state moves toward a goal of 5 million zero-emission cars on the roads by 2030. CPUC voted 5-0 last Thursday to pay for programs statewide over the next five years, with an emphasis on establishing facilities in disadvantaged communities where traffic and air pollution are often heaviest.
In the past few years, utilities have taken a growing interest in customer experience. As leading digital natives increasingly shape customer expectations, utilities are facing growing pressure to create compelling customer experiences in their own industry. With the decline in costs of solar, storage, and other distributed-generation technologies, they fear losing customers, or part of their usage, to companies like Tesla Energy.
Tesla, it’s been said, is less a car company than a battery company that sells cars. Recently, the company announced a new milestone: Since 2015, it has installed a worldwide total of a gigawatt-hour of energy storage–technology that is critical for using renewable energy at scale. For comparison, that’s nearly half of the entire amount of energy storage installed globally last year.
The historically tiny residential energy storage segment won big in Q1 2018, according to the latest deployment data. Utility-scale projects, the usual workhorse of the energy storage industry, dropped massively compared to last year’s Q1, when the Aliso Canyon procurements came online and set a record for energy capacity. What saved the quarter from historically low performance turned out to be the aggregate growth of all the little systems popping up in customers' homes.