National Grid proposes $167M charger build-out in Mass.

Source: David Iaconangelo, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The largest utility in Massachusetts has laid out a $167 million five-year plan to build out electric vehicle chargers in the state.

Officials at the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) have had a full plate of e-car charger proposals over the past year or so, signing off on requests from National Grid PLC and Eversource Energy.

The proposal submitted last Thursday would get the state to about a quarter of the build-out needed to reach long-term environmental goals, National Grid said in a filing with regulators. Without “additional concerted and aggressive efforts to electrify the transportation sector through infrastructure investments and new incentives,” it argued, Massachusetts could miss its 2050 target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent.

The National Grid proposal includes the construction of some 10,320 new Level 2 charging stations, or the equivalent of 17,400 plugs. About half of those plugs would go up in single-family homes, with multiunit residences, workplaces and other public sites accounting for the rest.

As in the first phase of the program, one-tenth of the stations would be reserved for locations in economically depressed or underserved communities.

The company also asked to build some 75 direct-current fast charger sites, which could fuel up about 300 cars at a time. Site hosts could either own and operate the sites or leave that to the utility.

Parts of the proposal underscored the magnitude of the work necessary in Massachusetts. Thirty-eight percent of the state’s light-duty cars — or 2.2 million cars — would need to be electric by 2030.

Other features would generate technical assistance and know-how to car fleet operators considering electrification. That could include rebates to encourage off-peak charging or research into challenges such as how to increase access to electric transportation in disadvantaged communities.