Oregon utilities are putting millions toward EV charging

In 2016, Oregon passed the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Act, a law that transitions Oregon’s power grid off of polluting coal-fired power while simultaneously DOUBLING the state’s commitment to clean electricity by 2040. The bill also encourages investment in more electric vehicle charging infrastructure – a crucial part of making it easier to switch to electric vehicles. Utility proposals for “accelerating transportation electrification”are vetted by the Oregon Public Utility Commission to ensure they are fair and will do well in the ever-changing marketplace.

Transportation electrification and cleaner fuels are key to reduce climate pollution from cars, trucks, and even construction equipment. Now, with utilities in the game, they have become a powerful new ally in the effort to expand electric vehicle recharging infrastructure as our state continues to decrease its carbon footprint.

Based on this recent news from the Portland Business Journal, we see that it’s happening! Utilities are indeed putting millions towards EV charging, thanks to the passage of the Clean Electricity & Coal Transition Act. A $4.64 million plan from PacifiCorp was just approved; it promises new charging sites, outreach and education efforts and funding for demonstration programs. Specifically, the plan will:

  • Sponsor ride-and-drive events where consumers can get first-hand experience with EVs and chargers to make informed decisions about what is right for them.
  • Provide grants to help non-residential customers develop electric transportation infrastructure projects, including allocating $1.5 million for projects that advance transportation electrification in areas like workplace charging.
  • Install, own and operate up to seven charging sites, with each site featuring dual-standard DC fast chargers, and at least one Level 2 charging port in Oregon.

The pilots are an effort by Pacific Power to ensure that more than 50,000 EVs are in use in Oregon by 2020. Earlier in February, regulators approved Portland General Electric’s $5.3 million plan. Their plan includes:

  • Charging clusters, like Electric Avenue downtown.
  • An electric bus charging pilot program with TriMet
  • An education and outreach program to promote electric vehicles. Many consumers still don’t know the benefits of EVs.
  • Rebate or incentive programs for residential and workplace charging—the two most likely places people will need to charge.

Oregon has always been known for its pioneering spirit, and it’s exciting to see that reputation extend into the realm of policies that cleaner fuels and in turn, healthier communities.