EV conference offers roadmap for future MPSC action

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February 20, 2018

EV conference offers roadmap for future MPSC action

Customer education, grid impact, charger availability among areas to be studied

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today held its second plug-in electric vehicle technical conference with discussions surrounding utility pilot charging projects and what role the Commission plays in program deployment.

The Commission will use the feedback from the “Shifting into Drive: Future EV Pilot Programs” public conference to formulate regulatory policy to accommodate the anticipated growth of electric vehicles in Michigan. The discussions will also facilitate effective planning for the increased impact that vehicle electrification will have on the charging infrastructure as well as overall electrical demand and service reliability.

“We’re excited by the forward-looking proposals presented today and the robust discussion that offered a vision for moving from concept to deployment,” MPSC Commissioner Norm Saari said. “We greatly appreciate the work that Michigan and national stakeholders have taken to identify the issues that lie ahead and to offer cooperative solutions.”

The conference discussion was facilitated by the Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research, which studies the automotive industry’s impact on the U.S. economy and society. More than 80 people attended to hear presentations by Consumers Energy Co., DTE Energy Co., the Environmental Law and Policy Center, and the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, among others.

Information developed today will guide the Commission as it considers the future impact expanded EV charging will have on the electrical grid and how customer use will be accounted for in rate structure and time-of-day use. An initial decision by the Commission will be announced at a future meeting.

Among the areas that require cooperative forward-thinking solutions, presenters said, are driver education of EV technology from awareness to buying a vehicle, how to alleviate range anxiety for users, making chargers visible and accessible to spur consumer interest, evaluating how increased demand from vehicle charging will affect the electrical grid at key times of the day and night, use of battery storage and demand response, wider adoption of Level 2 fast chargers along key travel corridors, and data collection to evaluate customer use.

The conference also highlighted the desire of utilities, automakers, charging companies and others to work together to develop viable networks that serve the public where and when they need charging capabilities.

Tuesday’s presentations and a meeting podcast will be posted on the MPSC’s website.

Twenty-six utilities, businesses and individuals filed comments in Case No. U-18368, including Consumers; DTE; Indiana Michigan Power Co.; Michigan Petroleum Association and Michigan Association of Convenience Stores; Electric Vehicle Charging Association; ReInvent Detroit; Michigan State University; Alliance for Transportation Electrification; Greenlots; ChargePoint Inc.; and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Today’s conference is a follow-up to the highly successful discussions during the Commission’s Technical Conference on Alternative Fuel Vehicles in August, hosted by the MPSC and the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE). August’s conference attracted thought leaders from around the country in the automotive, charging, utility, and environmental fields.

To listen to podcasts from August’s panel discussions click here.

For an issue brief on the MPSC and plug-in electric vehicles, click here.

For more information about the MPSC, please visit www.michigan.gov/mpsc or sign up for one of its listservs to keep up to date on MPSC matters.

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