Xcel Energy proposes $102M transportation electrification plan for Colorado

Published on May 27, 2020 by Jaclyn Brandt

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Xcel Energy’s Public Service Company of Colorado recently proposed the company’s largest-ever transportation electrification plan in an effort to advance electric vehicle (EV) adoption and lower carbon emissions in the state.

Colorado has a goal of having 940,000 EVs on the road by 2030.
To help meet the state’s air quality standards, electric utilities in the state are required to file plans with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for their development of electricity as a transportation fuel as part of Colorado legislation that was enacted in 2019.

Public Service Company of Colorado submitted its 2021-2023 Transportation Electrification Plan (TEP) to the CPUC in mid-May, which calls for an investment of $102 million. In testimony submitted to the CPUC, Jack Ihle, director of regulatory and strategic analysis at Xcel Energy, said this TEP is the largest EV plan Xcel Energy has proposed in any state so far. Xcel provides energy in eight Western and Midwestern states.

The Colorado plan includes goals of launching 20 new programs for home, multi-family, commercial fleet, and community-based charging; rebate programs; initiatives for low-income customers; and an EV school bus program. Xcel Energy is also looking at research on new technology and advisory services to educate the public on EVs.

“It’s important to lay the groundwork for our state’s long-term goals, even in the midst of these challenging times. Electric vehicles are a great opportunity for our customers to save money on transportation costs,” said Alice Jackson, president of Xcel Energy-Colorado.

The company’s transportation electrification plan also complements Xcel’s goal of reducing emissions from the electricity it provides customers 80 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels and 100 percent by 2050.

“Moving forward on EV infrastructure investments and programs not only benefits drivers, but all Coloradoans by reducing carbon emissions and air pollution while keeping bills low,” Jackson said.

The TEP addresses three current challenges in the EV market: lack of awareness and information, upfront costs for both vehicles and charging infrastructure, and lack of appropriate incentives.

Xcel Energy’s current EV program offers pricing plans and pilot programs to help keep EVs affordable. Xcel plans to launch the Colorado Charging Perks pilot to use connected car systems to reward customers who are both EV and home electricity customers. Xcel is working with automakers for the pilot, including General Motors, Ford, Honda and BMW.

The company aims to increase EV adoption in low-income households by offering incentives for mobility hubs, grants, and rebates for ridesharing services and residential charging infrastructure, including incentives for landlords of multi-family properties, as well as supporting electrification for fleets that serve low-income communities, like public transit and school buses.

It also plans to incentivize residential off-peak charging and EV charging stations at multi-family or commercial properties.

According to the 2020 Colorado EV Plan, a study conducted on behalf of the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) in 2019 by MJ Bradley & Associates found that all Xcel Energy customers could see a reduction in their utility bills because of increased utility revenues, and EV owners could see an additional cost savings of $260 to $276. The EV Plan also found that by 2030, an EV owner could save $3,000 more than an owner of a vehicle with an internal combustion engine over the vehicle’s lifetime.

Meanwhile, Colorado has seen progress in the development of transportation electrification since releasing its first EV plan in 2018.

Between 2018 and 2020 the state has contracted a build-out of fast-charging EV stations at 33 sites along major Colorado transportation corridors and installed 351 EV chargers across the state. The state has also supported a zero-emission vehicle charging infrastructure and zero-emission buses, shuttles, and trucks, including $13.9 million awarded to six transit agencies for 23 electric buses and infrastructure.

The number of EVs in Xcel Energy’s Colorado service territory grew 40 percent between 2018 and 2019, the company said.