The Opportunity for Utilities to Advance EV Infrastructure
As electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure grows, municipal utilities and electric cooperatives can play increasingly important roles in promoting the rollout. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (signed into law in November 2021) and the Inflation Reduction Act (signed into law in September 2022) make significant investments in critical infrastructure projects across the nation. These investments include significant funding to establish a nationwide network of EV charging stations and funding to incentivize and support the purchase of EVs.
The transportation electrification programs in these laws are designed to reduce pollution, improve public health, and strengthen U.S. energy security, while advancing solutions for some of the nation’s most pressing transportation challenges.
In addition, according to a December 2022 report from the Electrification Coalition (“Local Government Playbook: How Counties, Cities, and Towns Can Support EV Infrastructure and Leverage Federal Investments”), as the programs in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) pave the way for critical infrastructure that is needed to support EV drivers across the nation, the funding from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will underpin a flourishing EV market and a resilient domestic supply chain to support it.
“Cross-sector collaboration and thorough planning, championed by informed decision-makers, will support the efficient, effective, and equitable deployment of the nation’s historic investment in EV infrastructure,” said the report. “Government, business, and civic leaders that write policy, organize communities, and build the network for action will have a leading role in designing the electric transportation future.”
As such, municipalities must pay close attention to their policy environment to ensure that local laws and procedures help advance deployment. “Bold policy agendas that support current deployment efforts and lay the groundwork for growth will ensure that communities are prepared to maximize this opportunity,” said the report. The report added that this historic investment will require close regional collaboration and strong regional planning that accounts for key factors like station location, user experience, and reduced installation costs, which will play critical roles in ensuring the interoperability of the public charging network. “Multi-state and regional approaches that comprehensively analyze community and regional needs are necessary for impactful connectivity between jurisdictions and for creating a reliable and resilient charging network,” said the report. Of course, publicly-owned utilities can also weigh in during these efforts and provide additional assistance.
Some numbers: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) includes the following funding for transportation electrification: $5 billion for the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program, $2.5 billion for the Discretionary Grant Program for Charging and Fueling Infrastructure, $5 billion for the Clean School Bus Program, $5.6 billion for the Low- and No-Emission Transit Bus Program, and $250 million for the Electric or Low Emitting Ferry Program.
The IRA also includes massive amounts of funding for transportation electrification, including, but not limited to:
1 – New EV Tax Credit (up to $7,500 per vehicle).
2- Used EV Tax Credit (up to $4,000 per vehicle).
3 – Commercial EV Tax Credit (up to $7,000 for light-duty and $40,000 for heavy-duty per vehicle).
4 – GHG Reduction Fund ($27 billion to leverage low-cost financing to deploy zero emission renewable technology).
5 – EPA Rebates ($1 billion in rebates for clean heavy-duty trucks).
6 – Neighborhood Access and Equity Grants (Approximately $4 billion in discretionary grants to improve connectivity throughout neighborhoods).