New York Charges Ahead with New EV Initiative
This is an update to a previous blog, “NY Petition Urges Greater, Faster Action on EVs”
In a groundbreaking order, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) has established a new proceeding dedicated to accelerating electric utility engagement in transportation electrification across the Empire State. The announcement follows the release of a landmark energy efficiency initiative to boost utility efficiency programs, providing thousands of new jobs and pushing New York closer to reaching its renewable energy goals.
Progress on energy efficiency and transportation electrification are essential to slashing carbon emissions and achieving the state’s ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets—which include an 80 percent emissions reduction by 2050 from 1990 levels. The PSC should seize this opportunity to provide regulatory guidance that steers utilities toward robust, complementary plans to accelerate transportation electrification to the benefit of all New Yorkers.
More than 40 automakers, bus manufacturers, electric vehicle (EV) charging-service providers, labor groups, business associations, environmental justice organizations, environmental groups, and other interested organizations submitted a petition to the PSC in February urging it to require New York utilities to take greater action on to electrify the state’s transportation system. As the “fuel” providers for EVs, electric utilities—in partnership with third party EV charging companies—have a crucial role to play in expanding the market for EVs and charging services.
In response, the PSC opened an EV-specific docket with an order "to remove inappropriate obstacles to adoption and ensure critical [electric vehicle supply equipment] and infrastructure is in place to support the state's Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) targets.” (New York must have roughly 850,000 EVs on the road by 2025 to reach its ZEV target.) Of note, the order:
- Explicitly recognizes the importance of EVs in reducing emissions from transportation, the most polluting sector in New York, and in achieving state policy goals;
- Establishes a technical conference where parties will determine the appropriate role for electric utilities in deploying charging infrastructure and implementing other market acceleration initiatives necessary to support widespread transportation electrification;
- Requires PSC staff to gather stakeholder input from the technical conference; and
- Commits to investigate how EVs can leveraged as distributed energy resources (DERs), complementing state efforts to improve distribution system planning and integrate the growing amount of renewable generation on the grid.
Although the order stops short of formally requiring utilities to develop transportation electrification programs, the technical conference and stakeholder input it collects will provide the foundation for utilities to take greater action on EVs in near term.
Other states in the region, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Maryland have already completed similar proceedings that have spurred proposals to develop EV charging infrastructure. New York currently leads the East Coast in EV adoption, with more than 30,000 on the road today, but it needs to engage its utilities to meet Governor Cuomo’s ambitious climate goals.
The PSC’s new proceeding sends a strong signal that the Empire State is committed to transportation electrification. New York should take full advantage of the opportunity it presents to receive stakeholder input and develop robust policy guidance. Doing so will only improve utilities’ transportation electrification proposals and clean up the state’s transportation system, to the benefit of all New Yorkers.