Fresh Energy statement: Public Utilities Commission makes sweeping commitment to electric vehicles

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Today the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) filed an order to dramatically invest in our state’s public interest through targeted support to electrification of our transportation system. The order outlines the role Minnesota’s investor owned utilities have in increasing electric vehicle adoption and their responsibility in supporting its broad integration.

The order will directly boost electric vehicle sales by directing utilities to support public electric vehicle charging stations, raise customer awareness of their many benefits and—most importantly—allow overnight charging rates when electricity usage is naturally low and wind generation is high, exerting downward pressure on rates.

On the heels of Metro Transit’s recent announcement to transition their fleet to 100 percent electric buses by 2040, we expect great shifts toward electrification of our transportation sector in the coming years. More electric vehicles on Minnesota’s roads mean great economic growth. If widely adopted, the net economic benefits of electric vehicles for our state would reach over $30 billion dollars by 2050. Given Xcel Energy’s  announcement this month of 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050, electric vehicles in the near future could be powered completely from the wind and sun, producing almost zero greenhouse gas emissions.

This has wide-sweeping public health effects—even for those who cannot drive electric vehicles. The transportation sector now contributes more carbon dioxide emissions than electricity generation, and road transportation emissions cause 53,000 premature deaths per year nationally. The PUC’s order today directly addresses this problem: cleaner cars mean cleaner air for everyone, but especially for communities disparately impacted by transportation pollution.

Fresh Energy’s senior policy associate, Andrew Twite, released the following in response:

“Today, the Public Utilities Commission took bold action to spur electric vehicle growth in Minnesota.  The commission’s leadership will maximize the environmental benefits of EVs while also helping to lower electricity bills for all Minnesotans.”