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Seattle City Light Joins EPRI Initiative to Support Widescale National EV Rollout

Earlier this month, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) announced EVs2Scale2030™, a three-year initiative designed to support the widescale rollout of electric vehicles (EV). As one of the founding electric companies behind the initiative, Seattle City Light is excited to join hundreds of stakeholders in this effort to plan for and develop EV charging infrastructure at scale nationwide.

What Is the EVs2Scale2030™ Initiative?

EPRI’s EVs2Scale2030™ initiative is a collaborative effort to create resources to help the utility industry, regulators and manufacturers align on 2030 electrification goals. Examples of these resources include:

  • a 50-state visualization and 2030 road map identifying aggregated EV loads, grid impacts, utility lead times, workforce requirements and costs;
  • an online platform defining the cross-industry processes needed to meet large-scale electrification by 2030; and
  • a secure data exchange platform for fleet operators and charging providers that allows energy companies to better plan and prioritize grid upgrade investments.

So far, the partners involved include Amazon, the U.S. Department of Energy and several founding electric company members, including Pacific Gas & Electric, Portland General Electric and Seattle City Light. The collaborative nature of this initiative is what has energized so many key industry stakeholders to join the effort.

“Collaboration, coordination, and standardization will be critical for the U.S. to meet its 2030 EV targets,” said EPRI President and CEO Arshad Mansoor. “EVs2Scale2030™ will bring together all of the key industry stakeholders to identify and address the challenges and opportunities needed to drive toward an affordable, equitable, and reliable clean energy future.”

Why Did City Light Join?

Since Seattle City Council approved our Transportation Electrification Strategic Investment Plan in 2020, we’ve been partnering with community and implementing partnerships, programs, and pilots to support cross-sector transportation electrification — leveraging our carbon-neutral electricity to decarbonize and improve local air quality. The industry has its challenges, and coordinating efforts across service areas and adapting to changing technology and regulations are ongoing hurdles.

“We’ve been a power provider for over 100 years, and now we’re transitioning to also be a transportation fuel provider,” said Angela Song, Transportation Electrification Portfolio Manager. “There are a lot of challenges that we’re seeing across the industry, so being able to share data and streamline processes will determine best practices and help out our own efforts a lot.”

City Light has long enjoyed working with EPRI because they understand the technical side of utilities. For this initiative, we saw a great opportunity to get involved because it brings together utilities, fleets and original equipment manufacturers. This kind of collaboration is really rewarding and eye opening for everyone involved. For example, with funds from the Inflation Reduction Act, there are a lot of new manufacturers coming onto the market across the country, which means we’re starting to see an evolution in charging technology. And we get to be a part of this.

What Roles do Electric Utilities Play?

One of the main things people talk about is how you go about expanding this kind of electrification infrastructure, such as how you submit a permit, what the process involves, etc. With this initiative, we can share our data, allowing them to get real-life traffic patterns in our power grid. This information is valuable because it lets us see what the impact it will be when it’s overlaid with additional charging infrastructure. Beyond sharing data, EPRI is also creating a vetted product list, which is a considerable time savings to us.

By shifting focus to the utility, helping to identify what the barriers and processes are to get the electricity to where it’s needed is a new era of partnership and collaboration. For fleets and OEMs, who normally must think on a short-term, annual basis, bringing this joint strategic planning lens offers a tremendous amount of value. They get to understand our processes, and we get to understand theirs. It’s a win for everyone involved, and we’re eager to get started.