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Electric Vehicles

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While still a small share of the market, electric vehicle (EV)[1] sales are steadily increasing and have the potential for rapid growth. EVs could benefit Minnesota in numerous ways, but could also adversely impact the electric system if their integration is not planned. In order to facilitate EV integration in a manner consistent with the interests of the public and of ratepayers, in December of 2017 the Commission opened an Inquiry into Electric Vehicle Charging and Infrastructure (Docket No. E999/CI-17-879).

Many state and federal agencies are working on aspects of EVs.  The Commission, as the agency regulating electric utilities, is involved in reviewing and approving rates for EV pilots and charging infrastructure requests from utilities.

After a public workshop, input from utilities, EV charging providers, governmental bodies, and other interested stakeholders the Commission made a number of findings about EVs in its February 1, 2019 Order.

Specifically, the Commission found:

  • Electrification is in the Public Interest: The Commission finds that electrification of Minnesota’s transportation sector can further the public interest in:
  • Affordable, economic electric utility service by improving utility system utilization/efficiency and placing downward pressure on utility rates through increased utility revenues and better grid utilization;
  • Renewable energy use by increasing electricity demand during hours when renewable energy is most prevalent on the system and developing tariffs that correlate renewable energy resources to electric vehicle charging; and
  • Clean energy by reducing statewide greenhouse gas and other environmentally harmful emissions.
  • Barriers to EV Adoption: The Commission finds that barriers to increased EV adoption in Minnesota include but are not limited to: (a) inadequate supply of and access to charging infrastructure, and (b) lack of consumer awareness of EV benefits and charging options.
  • Optimizing EV Benefits: The Commission finds that how EVs are integrated with the electric system will be critical to ensuring that transportation electrification advances the public interest. This may include rate design that pairs charging with periods of low demand and high renewable energy generation, encourages advanced technology for enhanced load management, and provides direct benefits to EV owners through lower fuel costs of electricity.
  • Utility Role Regarding EVs: The Commission finds that Minnesota’s electric utilities have an important role in:
  • Facilitating the electrification of Minnesota’s transportation sector through policies and investments that educate customers on the benefits of EVs and enhance the availability of charging infrastructure; and
  • Optimizing the cost-effective integration of EVs through appropriate rate designs, policies, and investments that improve system utilization/efficiency and benefit utility ratepayers, including non-EV owners.

Electric Vehicles in Minnesota

As of April, 2019 nearly 10,000 electric vehicles were registered in the State of Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Transportation maintains an electric vehicle dashboard with additional data on electric vehicles in Minnesota.

Breaking down the number of electric vehicles registered in each utility’s service territory, Xcel Energy has the largest number of EVs, followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area cooperatives Connexus Energy and Dakota Electric Association.
EV distribution, service territory 

A breakdown of electric vehicle registrations by electric utility service territory can be found here. Please note that totals may not align with the Minnesota Department of Transportation numbers.

For questions on EV data, please contact Commission staff:

Hanna Terwilliger
hanna.terwilliger@state.mn.us
651-201-2243

Relevant EV Statutes:

 The Legislature has taken steps to facilitate the adoption of EVs in Minnesota.

Minn. Stat. 216B.02, Subd. 4 exempts entities that sell electricity for EV charging from regulation as a public utility, which allows non-utilities to develop and operate charging infrastructure.

Minn. Stat 216B.1614 requires each public utility to have a rate specifically designed for EV charging that offers time-of-day or off-peak rates to customers who own EVs.

EV Specific Dockets

Below is a list of dockets where utilities have asked for Commission approval of EV programs. EVs are referenced in other utility proceedings, including Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) and Integrated Distribution System Planning (IDP) among others.

 Docket Number

Description

Utility

12-874

Residential Electric Vehicle Service
  • Time of use and off peak charging options

Dakota Electric Association

15-111

Residential Electric Vehicle Charging Tariff
  • Time-of-Day charging option in compliance with Minn. Stat. 216B.1614

Xcel Energy

15-112

Off-Peak Electric Vehicle Rider
  • Off-peak charging option in compliance with Minn. Stat. 216B.1614

Otter Tail Power

15-120

Residential Electric Vehicle Service
  • Time-of-Day charging option in compliance with Minn. Stat. 216B.1614

Minnesota Power

17-817

Residential EV Service Pilot
  • Time-of-Day charging rate using embedded Level 2 charger submetering technology

Xcel Energy

17-879

Inquiry into Electric Vehicle Charging and Infrastructure
  • Also includes Transportation Electrification Plans

All investor owned utilities

18-643

EV Infrastructure Pilots
  • Make ready infrastructure investments for fleet and public charging

Xcel Energy

19-186

Residential EV Subscription Pilot
  • Flat monthly rate for off-peak charging, includes submetered Level 2 charger in monthly price

Xcel Energy

19-337

EV Commercial Charging Pilot
  • Rate for demand charge relief for fleet and public charging customers

Minnesota Power

19-559 (pending)

Home EV Service Offering
  • Full scale rollout of Xcel Energy’s Residential EV Service Pilot

Xcel Energy

 

All utility requests are filed electronically with the Commission in its eDockets system. Select Search eDockets, enter the year and the docket number, and select Search. The table above lists EV specific dockets. For example, to look up the Commission’s Inquiry into EV Charging and Infrastructure one would enter 17 under year and 879 under docket number.



[1] Minn. Stat. § 169.011, subd. 26a, defines “electric vehicle” as “a motor vehicle that is able to be powered by an electric motor drawing current from rechargeable storage batteries, fuel cells, or other portable sources of electrical current, and meets or exceeds applicable regulations in Code of Federal Regulations, title 49, part 571, and successor requirements.” The definition includes a neighborhood electric vehicle, a medium-speed electric vehicle, and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

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