On January 13, 2020, the Department of Public Service Staff (DPS Staff) issued the Staff Whitepaper Regarding Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment and Infrastructure.
DPS Staff is proposing a statewide “Make-Ready Program” to the Public Service Commission that would cover 90% of the costs for an electric vehicle (EV) charging station, which has posed economic challenges for EV charging station developers. This would incentivize light-duty Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment and Infrastructure (EVSE&I) for Level 2 and Direct Current Fast Charger (DCFC stations). Additionally, DPS Staff recommends that New York State’s investor-owned electric utilities (the Joint Utilities) should include EV charging stations in their annual planning considerations. DPS Staff’s suggestions are in line with the expected growth of EV industry in the state, and New York’s goal to deploy 850,000 zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2025.
To help New York reach this objective, DPS Staff believes these recommendations would accelerate consumer use of EVs by reducing installation and initial investment costs, improving the visibility of EV infrastructure, and promoting an earlier transition to EVs with more charging stations to reduce range anxiety.
Under New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), the state strives to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and reduce anthropogenic GHG emissions by 85% by 2050 to mitigate climate change threats. Since the transportation sector is responsible for the largest share of New York’s CO2, large-scale vehicle electrification is one way New York is beginning to limit transportation emissions. DPS Staff has identified light-duty vehicles as an appropriate first-step target.
Currently in New York, around 47,000 EVs are registered, which amounts to less than 1% of state vehicles. As of October 2019, New York had 1,451 charging stations and 3,618 public EV plugs. New York supports investment through the Charge Ready NY Program, which calls for at least 10,000 public and workplace charging stations by 2021. According to the whitepaper, the Make-Ready Program would significantly increase developer interest in order to enhance New York’s EV charging infrastructure.
In their overview of the Make-Ready Program, DPS Staff recommends complementing existing EV programs to advance the minimum infrastructure needed to meet New York’s EV agenda by 2025, with the program running from 2020–2025. The Make-Ready Program encourages partnerships with utilities to invest in electrical infrastructure installations, as electric service equipment alone can make up 25–50% of costs for Level 2 charging stations. DPS Staff proposes promoting a competitive market that is accessible to competitive third-party developers and is separate from publicly funded programs to maximize participation.
According to the economic analysis on the profitability of DCFC stations performed by the Cadmus Group, stations are not expected to be profitable over the first 10-year period due to minimal utilization as the EV industry grows. However, with make-ready support, it is estimated that within one year of this program, if make-ready costs are decreased for station owners, the 10-year net present value would be dramatically improved (except for larger DCFC stations in Upstate New York). Seven strategic locations—the Upstate Regional Economic Development Councils—will be eligible for incentives that would increase visibility and public access to stations. Eligibility criteria is outlined in detail, reinforcing the intention that this program is designed to encourage new charging stations, not those that are operational, under construction, or have already made service commitments.
The current estimated cost is $431,506,192 for Level 2 stations, $150,789,496 for DCFC, and the maximum program budget is approximately $582 million.
Since “early adopters” of EVs are from higher-income households and the CLCPA prioritizes underserved communities, the whitepaper highlights the importance of developing EV charging stations specifically in rural and environmental justice communities. Often, these communities are unjustly impacted by air pollution and other hazardous transportation infrastructure, so an increased number of EVs on the road will heavily benefit underserved communities. Increased use of EVs will promote cleaner air quality and, with more widespread charging stations, more people will have access to these technologies.
All of the proposals are made by DPS Staff on the basis of current best practices. Still, issues regarding rate design and commercial fleets require further stakeholder comment. DPS Staff is planning an “EV Make-Ready Conference” for stakeholders to voice their feedback on this whitepaper.