Electric utilities have a major role to play in the electromobility revolution. A new report from the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) presents Nevada’s major utility, NV Energy, as an example of how utilities can promote EV adoption, bringing lower costs, cleaner air and new economic opportunities to their customers.
The new report, NV Energy: Leading the Way on Electric Vehicles, details a range of EV-related policies and projects. “NV Energy seems to recognize that it is in their own best interest to develop this new market and advance the adoption of EVs,” said author Mike Salisbury. “We encourage other utilities to follow NV Energy’s lead and proactively support electric vehicles.”
Even when factoring in pollution created by generating electricity, EVs are the cleanest transportation option in Nevada, according to the report. In 2013, about 66 percent of the state’s electricity was produced by natural gas, with the remainder coming from coal and renewables. Legislation passed in 2013 puts the utility on a path to retire 800 megawatts of coal-fired generation by 2017.
NV Energy’s Jared Friedman noted that electric power is less expensive than gasoline, giving EV drivers more disposable income. Currently, Nevada spends over $5 billion per year on imported transportation fuels, almost all of which leaves the state’s economy.
“If a customer opts for an electric vehicle, their cost of fuel for driving will typically decrease by over 50 percent,” Friedman said. “If that same customer selects our special electric vehicle rate for their home or apartment and modifies their energy usage away from the high-peak hours, then they will reduce their energy bills even further.”
NV Energy has offered time-of-use pricing for EV owners since 2009. Customers in Northern Nevada who charge their cars between 10 pm and 6 am pay 6.3 cents per kilowatt hour compared to the normal residential rate of 10.2 cents. In Southern Nevada, where electricity use spikes during the hot summer months, EV drivers who charge between 10 and 6 pay about seven cents per kWh in summer, and about five cents in winter, compared to normal residential rates of 12 cents.
NV Energy’s Shared Investment Program has provided $500,000 to help fund new EV charging stations around the state. Some 133 individual charging ports have been installed at over 47 locations, including universities, airports, casinos, resorts, shopping centers and municipal facilities.
NV Energy has also led by example, purchasing 12 electric vehicles and offering charging stations – some powered by solar energy – at several of their office locations.