Western Resource Advocates today noted that Xcel Energy’s Transportation Electrification Plan, now under review by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, will foster greater electric vehicle use and help the state toward reaching its goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Well-designed utility programs to expand vehicle charging infrastructure will speed EV adoption, reduce harmful emissions, and lower electric bills for all utility customers,” said Aaron Kressig, Western Resource Advocates’ transportation electrification manager. “Transportation is Colorado’s largest source of the carbon pollution that causes climate change, and programs to foster increased electric vehicle use will help curb those emissions. The Public Utilities Commission is reviewing Xcel’s plan to ensure approved programs are fair, equitable, cost-efficient, and support optimal use of the electric grid.”
Xcel’s transportation electrification plan calls for building 20,000 new residential, commercial, and high-speed charging stations and would help support 450,000 electric vehicles by 2030. The plan aims to increase access to EV charging for single-family home owners, apartment dwellers, small businesses, Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft, and low-income communities. The Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to meet to discuss the plan on Wednesday, Dec. 23. The commission is expected to issue its final decision on Jan. 11.
The transportation plan would help Colorado achieve the goals of a 2019 executive order by Gov. Jared Polis that set a target of having 940,000 electric vehicles on Colorado roads by 2030. Colorado in 2019 also became a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) state, setting a required percentage of annual zero-emission vehicle sales. And HB 1261, signed into law in 2019, calls for the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030 and 90% by 2050.
Another state measure, Senate Bill 77, permits regulated utilities to make investments in electric vehicle infrastructure and pass a capped amount of costs on to ratepayers. Western Resource Advocates, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club, in testimony filed earlier this month with the commission, noted that Xcel’s transportation electrification plan and its cost-recovery provisions comply with state law.
The groups also proposed improvements that would expand environmental benefits by ensuring EVs are increasingly charged by renewable energy, increase the plan’s focus on serving low-income customers and those disproportionately impacted by transportation emissions, reduce costs, and enhance the customer experience for customers participating in Xcel’s programs.