KCP&L, regulators discuss electric vehicle charging build-out

Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) on Feb. 5 filed a petition requesting that the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) open a general investigation docket to investigate issues related to electric vehicle charging stations, according to TransmissionHub.

The company noted in its filing that it announced on Jan. 26 its planned Clean Charge Network for the installation and operation of more than 1,000 electric vehicle charging stations capable of supporting more than 10,000 electric vehicles.

The company said it recommends that the KCC establish the docket so that interested stakeholders can learn more about the company’s Clean Charge Network and collaboratively discuss issues attendant to even broader penetration of electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging stations, including:

·      Impact of charging stations on a utility’s retail customers

·      Impact of charging stations on a utility’s distribution system

·      Pricing alternatives and other impacts of electric vehicles

The KCC’s establishment of the docket will help all stakeholders learn about future issues involved with electric vehicle charging stations, the company said.

At the first scheduled session of the docket, the company said it would anticipate making a presentation regarding its Clean Charge Network and facilitating a discussion among stakeholders of issues and concerns related to electric vehicles, charging stations and providers of electric utility service with the goal of structuring future docket sessions that will be useful to stakeholders.

In its Jan. 26 statement, KCP&L said that, over the next several months, it will install the electric vehicle charging stations throughout the Greater Kansas City region.

Through partnerships with companies at host locations and with Nissan Motor Company, the Clean Charge Network will offer free charging on every station to all drivers for the first two years.

The stations are manufactured by ChargePoint and will be part of the ChargePoint network of more than 20,000 charging spots in North America, the company added.

“We are committed to the electric vehicle industry and want to give residents and visitors the ability to join the electric vehicle revolution,” Terry Bassham, president and CEO of Great Plains Energy (NYSE:GXP), of which KCP&L is a subsidiary, and of KCP&L, said in the statement. “As a utility, we will place the stations where they’re needed most and support them as part of our electric grid, leveraging our expertise with electrical infrastructure. Our Clean Charge Network eliminates “Ëœrange anxiety’ in the region, which is the number one roadblock to greater electric vehicle adoption. Now, electric vehicle owners will have an answer to the question, “ËœWhere do I recharge my vehicle?'”

KCP&L said that installation of the charging stations began late last year and will be completed this summer. The first stations deployed on the network will include 15 fast charging stations provided by Nissan and KCP&L, which will charge any model of electric vehicle on the market. On the fast charging stations, an electric vehicle like the Nissan LEAF will charge from empty to about 80 percent in about 30 minutes, the company added.

“People generally charge their cars at non-peak periods when KCP&L’s electrical grid is being underutilized,” Ashok Gupta, senior energy economist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in the statement. “By stimulating electric vehicle adoption with their Clean Charge Network, what KCP&L is doing is encouraging people to use the electrical grid more efficiently and drive down the cost of electricity for everyone. KCP&L’s efforts to encourage the use of electric vehicles, modernize the electrical grid, increase the use of renewable energy sources and invest in customers through robust energy efficiency programs are all critical parts of a sustainable energy future.”

Gupta also said that more electric vehicles on the road means that people will use more electricity during times when KCP&L already has enough generation and distribution capacity to meet demand.

Among other things, KCP&L noted that in 2011, it worked with the Kansas City Regional Clean Cities Coalition to bring 10 charging stations to the area, and it deployed additional stations through the KCP&L SmartGrid Demonstration Project.

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