Increasing solar PV production has created a significant reduction in overall domestic electricity demand. As a result, leaders among power utilities are exploring the possibility of tapping into the transportation sector of the energy industry. The Edison Electric Institute published a report this past June outlining the potential benefits that increased EV production could have for electricity demand. One line from the report summarizes the message concisely: “The bottom line is that the electric utility industry needs the electrification of the transportation sector to remain viable and sustainable in the long term.”
Currently the transportation sector of the energy market is worth approximately $1.4 billion per day and has been dominated by petroleum fuels, which make up 93% of sales. However, with more electric vehicles on the road each day, that percentage could be changing very soon. In the past three years the number of electric car models has rapidly grown from 0 to 16 with over 200,000 sold. Electric cars are performing well too–Tesla’s all-electric Model S is the highest rated car that Consumer Reports has ever reviewed with an overall score of 99.
The potential support of utilities is very exciting for the green energy front. Power utilities have a major lobby on capital hill and could be very influential in supporting future clean energy legislation in the transportation sector. This shift also marks a victory for the solar power industry, which played a key role in reducing electricity demand and encouraging utilities to invest in more environmentally responsible alternatives.
By Nolan Canter, MDV-SEIA Fellow