Reimagining the grid: How PGE, SCE and others are prepping for transportation electrification
Utilities are at the center of efforts to build a clean energy ecosystem, Drew Murphy, Edison International’s senior vice president of strategy and corporate development, said Monday at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) Summit in San Francisco.
“The challenge for us is to make sure we stay there, and we’re actually helping accelerate it, and we don’t actually miss an opportunity and hold things back,” he said. The first thing utilities need to do is “reimagine what the grid looks like — it’s going to look very different, it’s going to be used very differently,” in 20 or 30 years.
In 2018, California passed Senate Bill 100, which set the state on a path of achieving 100% zero-carbon electric retail sales by 2045. Edison’s utility subsidiary, Southern California Edison (SCE), analyzed this goal in a white paper released last November, Pathway 2045, and found that the state will need to ensure that three-quarters of light-duty, two-thirds of medium-duty and one-third of heavy-duty vehicles are electric by 2045.
In terms of managing the impact of these EVs on the grid, “the main piece is really planning and preparation,” Katie Sloan, SCE director of eMobility and building electrification, told Utility Dive.
“As a 100-plus year old company, this is what we do. We see new technologies coming on the grid all the time…” she said.
A key component of that is collaborating with customers, according to Sloan. That strategy will have to be different with medium and heavy-duty vehicles — like bus depots, that are looking to electrify up to a 100 buses in one location.
“That just really comes to the infrastructure planning side and making sure we know about our transit customers’, our delivery truck customers’ plans well ahead of time to have the electricity there,” she said.
In fact, infrastructure deployment is the first and foremost focus at SCE, according to Edison International’s Murphy.