As the State of California aggressively works toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions, utility agencies both small and large are making transportation electrification a priority — specifically, the Turlock Irrigation District, whose Board of Directors on Tuesday approved a new Electric Vehicle Program.
“Electrification is the future of California transportation,” TID Utility Analyst Christian Poley told the Board, and informed them that the state is pursuing a goal of 5 million electric vehicles throughout the state by the year 2030. “The quantity of EVs (electric vehicles) in TID territory, while low, is growing and new EVs equal a new, potentially shapeable load.”
Data collected from a charging station at the Villa del Lago hotel in Patterson showed that electric vehicle use in the area is indeed low, but continues to steadily climb. The station was among the first in the area installed in 2011, and through July 1, 2018, there were 1,762 charges from 222 identified customers.
One of those customers, Poley pointed out, was responsible for 28 percent of the station’s charges over the past six and a half years.
“The first thing we see is that very few people are using this, and those few people are using it a lot,” Poley said.
Even though electric vehicle charging stations may not be used much, the Villa del Lago station’s use showed that popularity may be increasing. In 2017 there was double the usage of kilowatt hours than any year prior, and Poley said the District anticipates that 2018 will experience even more kilowatt consumption.
To keep up with the times as well as potential demand, TID adopted an Electric Vehicle Program to point the District in the right direction. The program will not only promote the use of electric vehicles and provide rebates to customers, but will also utilize California Air Resources Board funds to promote transportation electrification, partner with local governments and business customers, establish strategies for electrifying the District’s fleet and plan for District employee charging on District property.
TID customers who purchase an electric vehicle will receive a boost thanks to the new program, which will provide a rebate of $300 per vehicle at up to two vehicles per customer. This will include an additional rebate of $700 per vehicle for low-income CARES customers. This makes the rebate for CARES customers $1,000 total ($300 for the EV rebate + $700 for the additional CARES component).
Those who install charging stations at their homes can also receive a rebate of $300 per charger with a limit of two per customer, and CARES customers can receive an additional $100 per charger.
TID would also like to see businesses “go green,” and is providing incentives for those who install charging stations in their lots — $1,000 per charger at one charger per customer.
“As you can tell, this program is really just a ‘get your feet wet’ for certain individuals,” Poley said. “If we think about something like Monte Vista Crossings that would want…let’s say, a dozen of these things, obviously this program doesn’t suit them.”
This led TID to develop another facet to the program, a community partnership program, which will allow local governments and business owners to create their own path to electrification that is not limited to charging stations.
“It could be the electrification of vehicles or any other thing that fits the transportation electrification plan for a particular entity,” Poley said.
The District is also working toward electrification of its fleet, and is pursuing grants available for purchasing battery electric vehicles or hybrid options. Electrification of the fleet will also include employee charging spots at the Canal Drive office’s parking structure and several other TID sites, where TID employees who wish to charge their electric vehicles will be charged $10 per month for the service.
The approved budget for the Electric Vehicle Plan amounts to $146,000.