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Virginians: submit comments to support EV adoption

Own an electric vehicle in Virginia? We’ve got an (urgent) opportunity for you to help shape important regulation in the Commonwealth. Ready to dive into the bureaucratic sausage-making? Read on…

Here’s what’s going on: there’s a State Corporation Commission (SCC) call for public comments concerning electric vehicles, charging, electricity rate design, and more.

What on earth is the SCC?

Most people aren’t aware of this commission’s existence (which is perfectly understandable), but it’s an incredibly influential entity when it comes to Virginia’s transition to clean energy. The SCC is Virginia’s public utility commission, which is a governing body that regulates the rates and services of a public utility, such as an electric utility. Electric vehicles obviously use electricity to charge, and therefore their increased deployment impacts the SCC’s purview of utility oversight. (More on PUCs and how you can engage with them in the Civics section of Generation180’s Boot Camp).

The task at hand

The SCC is currently asking for public comments about EVs, but it’s clear from their tone that the SCC isn’t as enthusiastic about electric cars as we are. From their perspective, increased adoption rates of electric vehicles present “several issues that potentially could affect the affordability and reliability of electricity service.” But where they see “issues”, we see opportunity. This public comment period is an important moment to weigh in while the SCC “explores” a number of areas of possible EV-related regulations. There are three main messages that the SCC needs to hear from EV owners like you:

    1. There’s growing demand for electric vehicles.
    2. Charging more EVs on Virginia’s electricity grid can actually help, not hurt things (for everybody involved!).
    3. EVs play a key role in Virginia meeting its carbon reduction goals.

The good news is that public comments actually do help influence the SCC (clearly we wouldn’t waste your time if this wasn’t true!). Below is a response that you can submit using the SCC’s comments portal. Feel free to personalize/tweak as you see fit!

Thank you for the opportunity to support our Commonwealth’s transition to clean energy and electric transportation. As one of more than 15,000 EV owners in Virginia, I am eager to support the growth of electric vehicles in my community. Electric vehicles aren’t just the future, they’re here today.

Now is the time to ensure that we all benefit from the grid stability EV’s can provide. Using managed charging, it is entirely possible to accommodate a significant growth in the number of EVs across VA without raising energy rates or building additional capacity. Key to making this work is properly incentivizing EV owners to charge during off-peak hours, using strategies such as time-of-use rate schemes. This allows EVs to take advantage of an otherwise idle grid, preventing the need for increased total capacity. Off-peak charging also helps prevent the inefficient spin-up and wind-down of excess capacity power plants. Eliminating these inefficiencies results in cheaper electricity for everyone, not just EV owners.

The dynamic charging capability of EVs allows them to capture and store renewable energy like wind and solar. While there is more research to be done, I encourage the SCC to embrace emerging technologies such as vehicle-to-grid (V2G) integration that will allow EV batteries to act as a distributed energy storage network that can be drawn upon to alleviate peak demand.  

To meet the Virginia Clean Economy Act carbon reduction goals, as well as those stipulated in Executive Order 43, Virginia needs to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. As an EV driver, I’m doing my part to reduce carbon emissions. The SCC has the opportunity to do its part as well by supporting electric vehicles and promoting an equitable transition to clean energy. Thank you for your consideration.

Again, here’s the link to submit your comment to the SCC. We’re aiming for a total of 250 comment submissions, and we’d love to count yours towards that goal. Shoot us a quick message at hello@generation180.org to confirm once you’ve submitted your comment. Thank you!

Thanks for raising your voice to help drive clean energy action in Virginia. Head over to our Electrify Your Ride Ambassador page to learn about more ways to get involved.