Electric vehicles provide significant environmental and economic value to communities

Electric Vehicle (EV) Benefit-Cost Analysis

In 2019, BEF contracted with Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. (E3) based in California to analyze the regional benefits and costs of adding electric vehicles (EV’s) to the service territories of BPA load-following utilities. The result is The Electric Vehicle Costs and Benefits for BPA Full Requirements Customers.  The study, supported by Northwest Requirements Utilities (NRU), Forth and Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), is meant to help utilities to prepare for the opportunities and to mitigate any potential risks of mass EV adoption.  The study compared the utility grid costs of serving EV drivers (energy, generation capacity, distribution system upgrades, ancillary services) with the bill revenue that EV drivers contribute to the utility costs; thus, considering the impact on all utility customers.

EV’s in BPA service territory enjoy exceptionally carbon-free electric fuel sourced from clean hydropower.  The study concluded that EV’s deployed in BPA utility service territories provide a net benefit to ratepayers of $300 to $1100 per EV adopted from 2019 through 2030.  The study noted that net benefits of EV’s are greater if utilities implement managed charging, which shifts periods of EV charging to hours of low electricity demand.

In conjunction with the benefit-cost analysis, Forth prepared A Utility EV Planning Guide: PNW Consumer-Owned Electric Utility Strategies for the Rise of Transportation Electrification.  The guide details six activity areas where utilities can focus their efforts to prepare for the increasing transition toward transportation electrification.

Project Benefits

The study and the planning guide provided BPA full requirements utilities with resources to help them manage load and organize demand response for the increasing number of EV’s being purchased and charged in their respective distribution territories.  In addition, BEF has partnered with Forth to convene quarterly EV Roundtable discussions and networking opportunities for BPA utilities in the Pacific Northwest.    

What’s next for EV Programming

BEF Renewables is engaged in providing technical assistance and grant funding to consumer-owned utilities, as well as leading on grant proposals to expand EV charging infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest. BEF Renewables has provided grants for innovative EV programming for consumer-owned utilities and tribes that promote and expand EV use in the region.  BEF continues to pursue projects and opportunities that highlight the benefits EV’s offer to utilities and communities, such as using EV batteries as back-up power for emergency operations.