- Oregon regulators have adopted a rule requiring public utilities to file plans every two years to "accelerate transportation electrification" in their service territories, and to include an analysis of the current market, existing policies and any barriers to development and adoption of electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure.
- The Public Utilities Commission's rule builds on SB 1547, which Oregon lawmakers passed in 2016 to set a 50% renewable portfolio standard and encourage other clean energy steps, including development of the EV market.
- The state ranks fifth in adoption of plug-in electric vehicles, according to EV group Go Electric Oregon (GEO), with more than 22,000 emissions-free cars on its roads. Gov. Kate Brown, D, wants to see 50,000 registered EVs on the state's roads by the end of 2020.
Oregon has aggressive clean transportation goals to go along with its renewable portfolio standard, but the state's utilities will need to do some work in order to meet them.
According to GEO, electric vehicles in Oregon are growing about 35% annually — which puts the state on pace to reach "just over 40,000 registered by 2020." That means reaching 50,000 EVs in the next couple of years will require developing fast charging corridors along busy routes, developing "charge-ready" buildings and homes, and leaning heavily on utility partnerships, the group says.
Pacific Power has made grants for charging infrastructure available to non-residential customers in Oregon, along with Washington and California as well, the group noted. Applications are due May 15 and projects will be selected quarterly through a competitive evaluation process, the utility said.
The new Oregon rules for utility transportation plans would require them to "identify a portfolio of actions, which may include investments and infrastructure for electric vehicles of various sizes, rate design, programs, and services," which are reasonably expected to help meet the state's goals.
SB 1547 was signed in March 2016 by Gov. Brown and called for renewable portfolio standard changes alongside a coal phaseout, implementing demand response programs and electrifying the transportation sector.
“Programming should be developed that seeks to achieve these legislative goals, and the planning process should provide an opportunity for the electric company to demonstrate progress towards the goals across the breadth of programs," the PUC said in its order.
Utilities can propose electrification programs at any time, but the electrification plans are supposed to happen on a rolling schedule. The PUC rules state a utility "must file for commission acceptance of its [Transportation Electrification] Plan within two years of its previous [Transportation Electrification] Plan acceptance order or as otherwise directed by the commission."