A new paper from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) offers recommended best practices to streamline the process of interconnecting electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to the grid. Paving the Way: Emerging Best Practices for Electric Vehicle Charger Interconnection identifies new policies and practices at the state, local, and utility levels that can help resolve challenges that charging station developers currently face. 

The paper’s recommendations are informed by a survey IREC conducted of third-party EV charging station (EVCS) developers on their experiences and challenges with the grid interconnection process. The developers surveyed work across multiple states and cover a broad share of the EV charger market. These recommendations come at a pivotal time as the Biden Administration plans to allocate $7.5 billion in funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, enacted in November 2021, to states and communities for the deployment of public EV charging stations.

Improving the speed and efficiency with which EV charging stations can be connected to the grid is an important step toward electrifying transportation and thereby decarbonizing the U.S. economy. The transportation sector comprises nearly 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and has been the nation’s largest source of carbon emissions since 2017. While more states have begun to encourage the use of EVs, rapid EV adoption is dependent upon the availability of a broad network of charging infrastructure, which includes both private and public chargers. To support EV growth through 2030, it has been estimated that the number of non-home chargers will need to grow from approximately 216,000 chargers in 2020 to 2.4 million by 2030. 

To accommodate the required growth, utilities will need to have efficient processes in place to interconnect new chargers to the grid, especially in preparation for a surge of new service requests that could result from federal spending. Delays resulting from inefficient charger interconnection and other processes, such as permitting and obtaining easements, can add weeks or months to a project’s timeline. The resulting “soft costs” are hard to quantify but can significantly impact charger deployment. 

This paper offers practical insights for utilities, state legislatures and regulatory agencies, and authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) to better enable the safe and efficient buildout of EV charging infrastructure. It is the third paper in IREC’s Paving the Way paper series, which explores pathways and considerations for transitioning to electrified transportation in a manner that is equitable, efficient, and beneficial to the grid. Download it for free at: https://irecusa.org/resources/paving-the-way-emerging-best-practices-for-electric-vehicle-charger-interconnection/