Transportation Electrification Accord Launched

This blog was written by Anne Blair, former Director of the Clean Fuels Program at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Guest Blog | June 19, 2018 | Clean Transportation, Electric Vehicles

Today, the Transportation Electrification Accord (Accord) was officially launched in Portland, Oregon at the EV Roadmap 11 conference. The Transportation Electrification Accord is a set of guiding principles for promoting transportation electrification.

Why is it needed?

The transportation sector is now the #1 source of carbon emissions in the United States, and transportation electrification offers an immediate opportunity to cut those emissions and to support the electricity grid.  The principles outlined in the Accord provide guidance for utilities, utility regulators, and local and state decision makers about how transportation electrification can be advanced to benefit all utility customers and users of all forms of transportation.

Electrifying the transportation sector provides multiple benefits to all consumers (including the socioeconomically disadvantaged). Based on local analysis, expanding the number of electric vehicles can create new jobs and income for states, as well as provide grid services, and cut air pollution and greenhouse gases.

Not only should more consumers adopt electric vehicles (EVs), but there are increasing options for transitioning medium and heavy-duty vehicles like transit buses and delivery trucks, which emit high levels of harmful pollutants in the air. This offers significant opportunities for municipalities, state fleets and businesses to transition their fleets, save millions of dollars on fuel and maintenance costs and reduce their environmental impacts.

What’s in the Transportation Electrification Accord?

The Accord highlights the need for both investor-owned and publicly-owned utilities to participate in and facilitate the deployment of EV charging infrastructure and/or supporting infrastructure for residential and commercial applications in their service territories. Utilities are uniquely “positioned to ensure that installed charging infrastructure, whether owned by utilities or other parties, maximizes the public benefits of these innovations, through appropriate integration of these technologies in order to maximize electrical system benefits for all classes of customers.”

However, to ensure that this infrastructure is deployed effectively, it must “optimize charging patterns to improve system load shape, reduce local load pockets, facilitate the integration of renewable energy resources, and maximize grid value. Using a combination of time-based rates, smart charging and rate design, load management practices, demand response, and other innovative applications, EV loads should be managed in the interest of all electricity customers.”

Open charging standards or protocols must also be adopted for both front-end and back-end interoperability. This will promote greater transparency of vital data and information, which can be shared with a variety of innovative companies.

Consumers must also be protected. Charging infrastructure should have transparent pricing and open access policies, as well as clear mapping locations and signage of the stations.

Finally, utilities “should proactively engage their regulators, consumers, and all stakeholders in developing rate designs, infrastructure deployment programs, and education and outreach efforts that benefit all utility customers and allow reasonable cost recovery, while accelerating widespread transportation electrification that supports a reliable and robust grid.”

These principles provide a starting point for all stakeholders in the transportation electrification sector to work together  to effectively improve our transportation and utilities systems, as well as provide cleaner air for all.

Who supports the Transportation Electrification Accord?

The Transportation Accord is endorsed by diverse stakeholders including non-profits, automakers, utilities and consumer advocates. Signatories include: Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Plug In America, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Clean Cities-GA, Sierra Club, Honda, BYD, Illinois Citizen Utility Board, Forth, and many others. See website for more.

If you or an organization or company you know is interested in joining the Accord, please sign up on the website and let’s move transportation electrification forward together.

Thank you to Katherine Stainken, Plug In America, for providing additional information for this post.

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