electric vehicle charging

BPU Moves to Increase Electric Vehicle Infrastructure in NJ

Important step forward for New Jersey’s clean energy future promotes private investment, supports equity and accessibility in public charging

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved an order setting parameters for the build-out of publicly accessible, light-duty electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in the state and the role of private and public investment in developing the infrastructure. The order establishes minimum filing requirements for light-duty EV infrastructure proposals from New Jersey’s electric utilities and requires them, if they have not done so already, to submit these filings by Feb. 28, 2021.

As the state’s Energy Master Plan makes clear, transportation accounts for 42% of the state’s emissions, disproportionately impacting overburdened communities. Transitioning to EVs will help achieve Governor Phil Murphy’s goals of 100% clean energy by 2050 and 80% reduction in emissions relative to 2006 levels. The Board’s order is a key step in laying the groundwork for light-duty EV infrastructure and coincides with the international recognition of Climate Week 2020.

“Electrifying transportation is one of our core strategies for reducing emissions and combatting the effects of climate change,” said BPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. “But one hurdle we face in getting more drivers to make the switch to electric is range anxiety. By thoughtfully addressing the expansion of the state’s charging infrastructure, we can ease those fears and help drivers feel good about getting from A to B in an EV, all while saving money over the long run, creating green jobs, and supporting cleaner air and reduced emissions.”

In January Governor Murphy announced a goal of registering 330,000 EVs in New Jersey by 2025. The Governor signed legislation that set a target of 1,000 publicly accessible Level 2 chargers installed by Dec. 31, 2025. Such stations are accessible to the general public 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are located in travel corridors, community locations, or on public land. New Jersey currently has over 400 such charging locations. The law also sets a goal for 15% of multi-family dwellings to be equipped with EV charging by the same date. These actions, followed by the order, are major steps in electrifying the transportation sector to reduce emissions and promote clean transportation and health equity throughout New Jersey.

The order codifies a “shared responsibility” model for EV infrastructure development that balances the roles of electric utilities and private investors in order to minimize the financial impact to the ratepayer and to ensure all residents can share the benefits of EV adoption. It also dictates that future EV filings include plans for the equitable distribution of charging infrastructure and support for electrified transportation modes (such as electric buses, scooters, and jitneys) that serve all communities.

Under this model, utility companies are responsible for the wiring and backbone infrastructure of “Make Ready” locations, which facilitate easy, cost-efficient installation of EV charging equipment. Non-utility entities – including site owners, property management companies, and EV service equipment companies – are responsible for installing, owning and/or operating, and marketing EV charging stations using private capital.

Through the order, electric utilities will be able to apply for Board permission to own and operate charging stations in areas of “Last Resort” after at least 12 months of no private sector requests for Make Ready infrastructure. In petitioning for areas of Last Resort, utilities should consider the density of the area, the distance from the nearest charging station, and other factors that may impact reasonable access to charging.

The recommendations in today’s Order were informed by stakeholder feedback on an EV Infrastructure Ecosystem Straw Proposal that BPU released in May.

The Board’s action contributes to a statewide, interagency effort to build out New Jersey’s EV Infrastructure Ecosystem. Through the Partnership to Plug-In, which Governor Murphy established in 2019, NJBPU coordinates with the Department of Environmental Protection and the Economic Development Authority to expand EV adoption in New Jersey.

In May, BPU launched Phase 1 of its Charge Up New Jersey program, which offers up to a $5,000 incentive for eligible EVs purchased or leased in New Jersey on or after Jan. 17, 2020. Upon implementation of Phase 2 later this year, auto dealers will be able to apply the incentive at the time of sale.

More information about EV incentives, the benefits of driving electric, and a map of all publicly accessible charging stations in New Jersey is available at www.drivegreen.nj.gov.

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

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