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December 2, 2019
25 Percent of Approved Utility Investment Going to Underserved Communities
Source: EV Hub
Electric utilities have the opportunity to lead in the effort to expand transportation electrification in underserved communities. These communities are an important focus for utilities because they often face disproportionate harm from transportation emissions and utilities as companies that serve the public are well positioned to ensure all segments of society benefit from transportation electrification. Following a comprehensive review of all utility programs related to transportation electrification tracked in the EV Hub Utility Filings Dashboard, we have found that nationwide, 36 out of the 101 program proposals include an equity goal in at least one element of the program.

While this is an encouraging figure, it includes all programs that have at least one element proposing to invest all or a specific proportion of funding for underserved communities and therefore includes programs with relatively small commitments to underserved communities. Furthermore, stating underserved communities are a priority is not a guarantee an investment will occur and a closer look at these programs reveals that only approximately 25 percent of all approved investment in transportation electrification is directed to benefit underserved communities.

Investment prioritization is just one aspect of efforts to ensure the benefits of transportation electrification reach underserved communities and specific data on the level of utility engagement in transportation equity has been difficult to come by. Using the Greenlining Institute’s Mobility Equity Framework as a guide, we recently upgraded the way we track equity-related elements in electric utility filings on EV Hub. We’re now tracking equity goals, requirements to invest a certain amount of funds in underserved communities, labor requirements, public reporting requirements, and engagement with underserved communities.

Our new data reveal that more than $977 million of approved utility programs include some prioritization of underserved communities. These programs could support up to 26,280 Level 2 charging stations and 560 DC fast charging stations. While this shows significant utility engagement in underserved communities, more than 90 percent of this investment is concentrated in California. In addition, out of the total approved investments, only $345 million is allocated directly to underserved communities.

As is the case with approved investments, California utilities claim the vast majority of the $812 million in pending investments which include an equity-related focus. In some cases, utilities have tried to invest in underserved communities and received rejections from their respective commissions. On September 30, 2019, 95 percent of National Grid’s $162 million EV program was denied by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. More than $110 million of this program included some focus on investment in underserved communities. Overall, regulatory commissions have denied almost $280 million in potential utility investment in underserved communities.

Concerted efforts to enhance education and awareness on the needs of underserved communities can ensure that both utilities and commissioners prioritize these communities in proposed programs. The Greenlining Institute highlights the importance of third-party partnership in these engagement efforts. Despite being well-positioned to engage directly with their customer bases, more than 86 percent of utility programs do not indicate specific plans to engage with underserved communities. Through September 2019, only 45 out of the 101 total filings include education and outreach components and only a quarter of those explicitly target underserved communities.

Even though we’re seeing an upward trend in electric utility programs seeking to benefit underserved communities, there is more work to be done to ensure that transportation electrification investment is equitably distributed around the country. It is important that electric utilities and other stakeholders ensure that the needs of underserved communities are met by engaging them early and ensuring the programs developed by the utilities accurately reflect the community’s changing needs.
 
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EV Hub News

Michigan Awards $4.2 million in VW Settlement Money for Electric School Buses

On September 12, 2019, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) announced an award of roughly $4.2 million to go towards the Michigan Association for Pupil Transportation Electric School Bus Pilot Project. The first buses are expected to be in operation by Fall 2019 and will be deployed in areas that suffer disproportionate air pollution burdens. The buses will also be equipped with technology to enable bi-directional vehicle-to-grid power exchange. 

This pilot program represents the first school bus award made by the state through the VW Settlement funds. Michigan is only the fifth state to use settlement funds to invest in electric school buses. This award more than doubles the $4 million of VW Settlement funds invested in this technology to date. Read More Here

California Energy Commission Approves $95 Million for EV Charging and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure

On September 11, 2019, the California Energy Commission (CEC) announced the approval of $95 million in new investments to go towards clean transportation programs throughout the state. The investments will contribute to CEC’s Clean Transportation Program that seeks to accelerate progress towards the state’s climate and clean transportation goals.

The $62.7 million being invested in EV charging infrastructure increases the state’s total public funding for EV charging to almost $200 million according to the Public Funding Awards dashboardRead More Here

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Job Openings
Below are current job openings in transportation electrification: If you have a job posting you would like to share with EV Hub users, please send them to us in an email at info@atlasevhub.com.
Upcoming Events

Join the Federal Highway Administration and DOT’s Volpe Center for a webinar on the recently announced  2019 Alternative Fuels Corridor (AFC) Request for Nominations. The webinar will include a review of the AFC Program and the results of Rounds 1-3 of the nomination process. The webinar will conclude with a Q&A discussion. Read More Here

December 5th @ 1:00pm EST

The electric, shared and smart mobility industry continues to grow at a rapid rate, with advancements in battery technology, charging infrastructure expansion and continuing growth in EV sales. Forth’s Executive Director, Jeff Allen will join AVERE’s Secretary General, Philippe Vangeel to recap the top electric transportation industry news of 2019, as well as give key insights into what’s to come in 2020. This webinar will highlight the growth of the industry nationally and internationally, as well as provide a sneak preview of what to expect in 2020. Read More Here

December 10th @ 1:00pm EST

Join Forth as we celebrate the holiday season – and the growth that the electric, shared and smart mobility industry has experienced over the past twelve months! We will host an electric transportation trivia, provide a recap of the biggest local and national news of 2019 and host our second food drive. Enjoy special holiday appetizers, plus local beer and wine. Don’t miss our last networking event of 2019! As a special THANK YOU to our MEMBERS, registration for this event is FREE for Forth members and $25 for the general public. Read More Here

December 18th @ 7:00pm EST

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