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Regulatory Roadmap for Vehicle-Grid-Integration

Regulators are Key to Unlocking the Full Value of EVs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Seeking to avert an expected EV-driven 10-20 GW increase in peak load across the U.S., a new report from the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) outlines how regulators can facilitate vehicle-grid-integration (VGI) development and deployment in their states to help manage EV impacts on the distribution grid.

Intended for regulators, staff, and utilities pursuing VGI deployment and approval, the report describes VGI and why it is important, how regulators are key to unlocking VGI, and the goals of a VGI roadmap and how to develop one. Drawing upon utility survey data and analysis of VGI-related utility filings, the authors stress that regulators are important to enabling appropriate VGI investments and providing guidance and incentives to utilities to experiment and test use cases, deploy technology solutions, and solve problems related to standards and interoperability.

“Regulatory guidance and innovation are critical for enabling new utility business models, including programs for transportation electrification and vehicle-grid-integration,” said Janet Gail Besser, Managing Director, SEPA Pathways. “This report provides guidance for developing a VGI regulatory roadmap to ensure that increasing EV deployment benefits all customers and the electricity system.”

Key findings include:

  • A roadmapping process to guide the development of regulations and policies can help minimize the risks of VGI deployment, for both utilities and customers.
  • Lack of regulatory and stakeholder knowledge about VGI capabilities is a barrier to VGI program development, according to utilities.
  • Developing a comprehensive benefit-cost analysis (BCA) framework that can be applied to transportation electrification could help overcome the challenges of disparate cost-effectiveness tests seen in some utility filing debates.
  • While numerous technical barriers remain to enable the full range of VGI capabilities, regulatory hurdles can be addressed in parallel.
  • Utilities and regulators often start the VGI journey using passive management strategies, such as EV-specific time-varying rates, as a way to encourage beneficial charging behavior.
  • Positive customer experiences are essential to the future of VGI. VGI programs must provide easy enrollment, painless participation, and deliver financial benefits in order to succeed.
  • At a minimum, EV charging infrastructure deployed with utility investments should consider a utility’s long-term VGI plan to ensure that devices installed today will support future capabilities required in order to avoid stranded assets or early replacement.

“This report provides a useful resource for state regulatory officials to follow,” said Jason Stanek, Chairman of the Maryland Public Service Commission. “Having a clear VGI roadmap provides more communication and more coordination, particularly for regulatory agencies that haven’t dipped their toe in the EV environment yet.”

“This VGI roadmap proposes plans to help reduce regulatory barriers and bottlenecks to innovation, economic development and investment, integrating EV charging and deployment,” said Zolaikha Strong, Director, Clean Energy Transition at the Copper Development Association.

“EVs offer utilities the opportunity not just to decarbonize transportation, but also to harness the flexibility of charging to balance intermittent renewable generation and shape load to support other grid needs, said Seth Frader-Thompson, President, EnergyHub. “We’re excited to work with utilities like Baltimore Gas and Electric as they partner with their customers to manage the impacts of EV charging on the grid.”

The report, “A Regulatory Roadmap for Vehicle-Grid Integration” was made possible by funding from the Copper Development Association.

All utilities should be preparing today for significant EV penetration. For more on how utilities should support, plan and deploy EV charging infrastructure, download SEPA’s two-part series, Planning for an Electric Vehicle Future: How Utilities Can Succeed and Utility Best Practices for EV Infrastructure Deployment.

For media requests, please contact Jordan Nachbar, jnachbar@sepapower.org or 202-559-2034.

Media contact: Jordan Nachbar jnachbar@sepapower.org; 202-559-2034

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