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Connecticut issues draft roadmap for widespread electric vehicle adoption

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Connecticut issues draft roadmap for widespread electric vehicle adoption

Highlights

500,000 vehicles must be converted by 2030 to meet GHG targets

Targets are 45% below 2001 levels by 2030, 80% by 2050

Washington — Connecticut unveiled a draft plan for accelerating the deployment of electric vehicles to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and transition the state away from fossil fuels. The state previously estimated that 500,000 EVs need to be on the road in the state by 2030 to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) released the draft "Electric Vehicle (EV) Roadmap for Connecticut," which identified policies, programs and strategies for speeding up widespread customer adoption of EVs and installations of EV charging infrastructure across the state.

With the goal of paving the way to a robust, self-sustaining EV market in Connecticut, DEEP said the roadmap builds upon the state's prior work with vehicle rebates and charging station grants. According to DEEP projections, Connecticut will need to convert about 500,000 vehicles from internal combustion engines to an electric system by 2030 to meet its economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets of 45% below 2001 levels by 2030 and 80% below by 2050. The agency said the transportation sector is currently responsible for almost 40% of Connecticut's greenhouse gas emissions and almost 70% of its smog pollution.

Asserting that wide-scale electric vehicle deployment is the primary solution for reducing harmful pollution like ozone and greenhouse gas emissions, the strategy calls for replacing cars and light-duty trucks, as well as medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that use internal combustion engines, with vehicles powered by low-to-zero carbon electricity.

According to Zane McDonald, a senior transportation analyst at S&P Global Platts Analytics, 500,000 EVs are likely to result in a power load increase of about 1,552.5 GWh/year and a crude oil demand reduction of about 15,000 b/d, assuming those EVs are replacing gasoline vehicles that have an efficiency of 25 mpg and drive 11,500 miles per year.

EV STRATEGIES

Alongside an overview of Connecticut laws, regulations and policies that drive vehicle electrification, the roadmap included a cost-benefit analysis of the plan and described barriers hindering widespread EV adoption in the state. In addition, the roadmap identified potential policy directives and regulatory tools for the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to consider going forward.

Among its strategies, the roadmap focused on ways to make EVs more accessible and affordable by preserving vehicle purchasing incentives and developing a market for used vehicles. DEEP also proposed integrating the charging of EVs into power grid planning processes and developing an "innovative" electric utility rate design to minimize the grid impact of EV charging while maximizing its benefits.

In addition to expanding and improving EV charging infrastructure and customers' charging experiences, including ensuring EV access in "underserved" communities, the proposal considered the role of marketing and public outreach in raising customer awareness.

The roadmap also recommended the state finance EV deployment strategies through the strategic use of funds from the Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate program and from the state's consumer fraud settlement with German automaker Volkswagen for rigging government emissions tests for diesel-powered vehicles .

As the roadmap's strategies largely concern PURA's regulatory oversight of electric utilities, DEEP said that it will file policy recommendations in PURA's planned reopening of Docket No.17-12-03RE04, or the ZEV docket.

"Engaging these topics in PURA proceedings will ensure that DEEP's views are informed by, and in dialogue with, the positions of other docket participants in the PURA process that can lead to the regulatory decisions necessary for implementation," it said in the roadmap.

DEEP will be accepting public comments on the draft plan until November 11, including holding a public comment session on November 8, before issuing a finalized plan with policy recommendations by early December. The roadmap stems from recommendations in the DEEP Comprehensive Energy Strategy issued in February 2018.

-- Andrew Coffman Smith, S&P Global Market Intelligence, newsdesk@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Rocco Canonica, newsdesk@spglobal.com