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MPSC Initiates Pilot Program to Integrate Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles into the Electric Grid, Positioning State to Become a Technology and Jobs Leader

Contact: Judy Palnau (517) 241-3323

March 11, 2008

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today initiated a pilot program designed to integrate plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) into Michigan's electric grid, positioning the state to become a leader in this technology.  The pilot program will be part of the MPSC's ongoing smart grid collaborative.

"As the automotive leader of the world, Michigan is uniquely equipped to lead the effort to integrate plug-in hybrid vehicles into its electric grid," said MPSC Chairman Orjiakor Isiogu, a member of the Smart Grid Collaborative effort between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).  "The widespread adoption of PHEVs has the potential to significantly reduce gasoline consumption, while reducing the overall greenhouse gas emissions produced in the state.

"The success of plug-in hybrid vehicles is dependent on the deployment of intelligent grid technology.  So, this represents a unique opportunity for Michigan's electric utilities to expand sales, without contributing to system peak, while simultaneously reducing the overall level of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation and utility sectors. 

"In addition, PHEV technology can help expand Michigan's role as the world's center of automotive production and design and engineering excellence, resulting in more high-paying jobs and economic growth."

PHEV technology also has the potential to provide peak load power during high demand periods, if a utility's electric distribution system provides vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capability through smart grid technologies.

The Commission notes that achieving a high penetration of PHEVs that retains the stability of the electric grid is dependent on smart grid infrastructure research and development.  Therefore, the MPSC in today's order is requiring all regulated electric distribution companies to participate in the smart grid collaborative, expanded by today's order to include PHEV pilot projects.  The MPSC encourages other interested parties to participate as well.

In particular, the PHEV aspect of the smart grid collaborative will include:

  • Using actual vehicles, some of which incorporate V2G systems, if and when available
  • Analyzing the environmental effects in Michigan of PHEVs at low, medium and high levels of adoption, with and without V2G capability
  • Analyzing the effect of PHEVs on Michigan utility and regional electric system load duration curves and the effect of PHEV market penetration on generation mix and capacity requirements
  • Analyzing the technical issues related to the participation of V2G in the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operators' ancillary services market.
  • Analyzing meter and time-based pricing policies for electricity used to charge electric vehicles

Today's order directs the MPSC staff to submit annual reports on the status of the PHEV collaborative, with the first report due by June 30, 2009.  Interim reports may be filed, as appropriate.

The Commission encourages transmission providers, customers and customer groups, Michigan universities and colleges, automotive manufacturers and suppliers, and other electric industry stakeholders to participate in the collaborative.

Written comments may also be filed with the Commission.  Comments may be e-mailed to mpscedockets@michigan.gov. Written comments should be mailed to the Executive Secretary, Michigan Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 30221, Lansing, MI 48909. 

The MPSC is an agency within the Department of Labor & Economic Growth

Case No. U-15278