Executive Insight, Renewable Energy, T&D, Transmission

VIDEO: PG&E invests in power grid that flows in multiple directions

PG&E Corp.’s growth investment opportunity will be in the evolution from a “traditional one-way flow of power on the grid to multi-flow power that is not predictable,” PG&E President and CEO Anthony Earley said during a 4Q14 earnings conference call on Feb. 10.

That investment will stem from the complexity of managing more renewable energy on the grid as California pushes to extend its renewable portfolio standard from 33 percent to 50 percent, Earley told TransmissionHub.

“There’s a long way to go between where we are today and a specific plan for California,” he said. “Clearly, we’ll be going above 33 percent.”

During the earnings conference, Kent Harvey, senior vice president, financial services with PG&E Corp. unit Pacific Gas and Electric, said that Pacific Gas and Electric is planning $5.5 billion in capital expenditures this year, including a little more than $1.1 billion for electric transmission and nearly $2 billion for electric distribution.

“We haven’t broken out the specific capital investments associated with the grid, but we have said that you can expect comparable levels of capital investments [in future years], and within that there is a big chunk for upgrading the grid,” Earley said.

As part of that investment, PG&E recently announced it will invest about $100 million per year for five years in electric vehicle (EV) charging systems.

“Our view is that as we renovate different circuits, we should be installing EV charging at appropriate places within those renovated circuits because that’s what the grid should look like going forward,” Earley said.

The company said on Feb. 9 that it has submitted an application with the California Public Utilities Commission seeking approval to build about 25,000 EV chargers at sites across its service territory.

PG&E said that its service area will need about 100,000 chargers by 2020 to support a California goal of having 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles registered in the state by 2025. If approved, all Pacific Gas and Electric customers would share the cost of the plan. The company said that the total impact on system average bundled rates would be minimal in 2016 and 2017, and would average about a tenth of a cent per kilowatt-hour over the next five years of the program, with typical residential customers paying about 70 cents more per month over the period from 2018 to 2022.