Broad economic, environmental benefits described in electrification of transportation 'roadmap'

Hawaii poised to be leader as global shift to EVs accelerates

Release Date: 3/29/2018

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HONOLULU, March 29, 2018 - The Hawaiian Electric Companies today released their Electrification of Transportation Strategic Roadmap, describing near- and long-term actions to create a clean energy future and reduce dependence on imported fossil fuel for transportation as well as electricity.

The plan, filed with the Public Utilities Commission, foresees Hawaii in 2045 with most personal light duty vehicles powered by electricity generated by solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal and other renewable resources.

Hawaii already has the second highest rate of electric vehicle adoption in the U.S. The plan notes that some of the world's largest vehicle manufacturers will introduce dozens of all-electric models with extended battery range over the next decade and that through the actions of its utilities, public agencies and private industry, Hawaii is uniquely positioned to be a leader in the clean transportation revolution.

"This is a global movement that is transforming the way that individuals, families and businesses use vehicles and we have to be ready," said Brennon Morioka, Hawaiian Electric's general manager of electrification of transportation. "This roadmap lays out the steps for meeting the changing needs of our customers and communities and adapting to the new technologies we know are coming."

In coming years, the plan says, charging cars, trucks, buses and heavy equipment is expected to make room on the grid for nearly 200,000 more private rooftop solar systems and many grid-scale renewable projects offering low-cost energy to every customer of Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light.

And well before 2045, studies and analyses show, using the electric grid to charge vehicles and equipment as power generation transitions toward 100 percent renewables can lower the cost of electricity to all of the Hawaiian Electric Companies' customers, provide economic benefit to the state and facilitate the integration of more renewable energy resources.

Replacing fossil fuels with electricity for passenger transportation could provide $60 million in benefits to Hawaiian Electric customers over the next 27 years, whether or not they own an electric vehicle. Including the avoided gasoline and vehicle maintenance costs, the improvement in Oahu's total "energy wallet" for transportation would be even greater, benefiting the economy by more than $200 million over the same period. Benefits could be significantly higher if drivers receive incentives to charge during the day when solar is abundant and to avoid charging during the utility's evening peak.

An analysis of potential savings for customers of Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light will be available in the near future.

The roadmap is available at www.mauielectric.com/GoEV

"Hawaiian Electric first promoted electric vehicles more than 100 years ago," Morioka said. "Today, the urgency has never been greater to reduce our use of oil for moving people and goods on the way to our clean energy future. This roadmap will guide our actions. The timing and precise route may change, but our destination and determination to reach it are clear."

Hawaii already has nearly 7,000 EVs registered, the report notes, second only to California per capita. In addition to rail, which will be powered by electricity, the City and County of Honolulu is considering electric buses to replace its diesel fleet, as are other counties. And electrification at harbors and airports presents possibilities for increased renewable energy use.

The plan lays the foundation for future actions to realize these benefits for customers and the state. Some will require regulatory review and approval. The plan cites these key near-term steps.

  1. Boost EV adoption by working with automakers, dealerships and advocates to lower the purchase price and educate customers on vehicle options and benefits
  2. Partner with third-party charging providers and others to facilitate the buildout of charging infrastructure, especially in workplaces and multi-unit dwellings. Expand the network of utility-owned fast-chargers and public Level 2 chargers in gap areas to reduce range anxiety
  3. Support customers to transition to electric buses with targeted efforts to reduce the upfront cost and provide practical charging options. From buses, efforts can move to trucks and other heavy equipment
  4. Create grid service opportunities with incentives for demand response participation and charging aligned with grid needs to reduce costs and save drivers money
  5. Coordinate with ongoing grid modernization to ensure smooth integration of EVs into energy delivery networks and optimum use of renewable resources

The report was created after extensive information gathering to ensure the strategy is informed by customers, stakeholders, and expert thinking on transportation trends.

Key sources included stakeholder engagement, via a workshop and small group meetings; customer research, including panels and surveys of EV owners and non-owners; direct conversations with automakers, dealers and large utility customers; Hawaii's clean energy and EoT policies, including regulatory proceedings; other utility filings and regulatory decisions; expert knowledge from Energy and Environmental Economics (E3), CALSTART and Integral Analytics.