Originally published on the NRDC Expert Blog.
Electric utilities in the Midwest are increasingly helping their customers drive on electricity, a reliably cheaper and increasingly cleaner fuel.
The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) will soon rule on a proposed decision that would approve a Consumers Energy program that will help electrify fleets of cars, trucks, and buses in the state. If approved, the $12 million PowerMIFleet program will:
- Provide needed electrical infrastructure and rebates for charging stations for fleets of electric cars, trucks, and buses;
- Provide larger rebates for customers who install public accessible, fast-charging stations;
- Use smart charging at workplaces to reduce strain on the electrical grid at times when demand for electricity peaks;
- Pilot the use of large batteries in trucks and buses to provide back-up power to on-site buildings and to return power to the grid when it is most needed; and
- Provide a concierge service to help customers electrify their vehicle fleets.
The pilot builds upon a previously approved Consumers Energy program, PowerMIDrive, which helps individual customers drive electric.
It also builds upon momentum in the Midwest demonstrated by a recent settlement agreement reached between Dayton Power and Light, NRDC and a diverse group of energy stakeholders that, if approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, will result in a suite of clean energy investments, including a $5.1 million rebate program to help customers install charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs). The program will prioritize multi-family housing and corridor charging to help ensure customers can fuel up at home and travel across the state.
If done correctly, utility programs could spur EV growth to the benefit of all residents — regardless of whether they own an EV. NRDC and our partners at Sierra Club and Ecology Center commissioned a report by MJ Bradley & Associates to analyze how benefits to Michiganders scale up as the EV market grows. The study concludes that widespread EV adoption in the state could:
- Reduce utility customer bills by $2.6 billion by improving the utilization of the grid because EVs can primarily be charged overnight when people are sleeping and the grid is under-utilized (reducing the price per kilowatt-hour by spreading the cost of maintaining the grid over more kilowatt-hours);
- Save drivers $23.1 billion through reduced fueling and maintenance costs; and
- Provide $5.7 in public benefits from reduced emissions.
Final approval of the PowerMIFleet program (expected in December) and the settlement agreement reached with Dayton Power and Light (expected in early 2021) will help ensure the Midwest remains on track to realize those potential benefits and help the nation’s automotive history move toward a zero-emission future.