San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has long been a pioneer in researching EV integration with the power grid. Last March it launched a pilot project that explores making fleets of EVs available as a dispatchable distributed energy resource to help stabilize the grid.
Back in April 2014, SDG&E sought authorization from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to install up to 5,500 public charging stations as part of a vehicle-grid integration (VPI) pilot. However, objections from interested parties including other charging network operators forced SDG&E to scale back the proposal.
Now the CPUC has approved a modified version of the program, enabling the utility to own and install 3,500 charging stations at 350 sites including businesses and multi-family communities throughout the San Diego region. The 2016 VGI Pilot Program will have a total budget of $45 million.
Half of SDG&E’s customers live in multi-unit dwellings, without easy access to vehicle charging. The new initiative will address this gap in the market, and will also aim to expand charging access to lower-income customers. At least 10% of the chargers will be installed in disadvantaged communities.
The program features dynamic pricing that creates incentives for charging when renewable energy is most available. Customers will be able to enter preferences for energy prices and quantity into a smartphone app, and SDG&E will provide EV customers with hourly pricing on a day-ahead basis.