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Connecticut Light & Power in NU EV research study; “Plug My Ride”

Four municipalities and a global financial services leader are joining with Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) to install charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) as part of a research project with CL&P parent Northeast Utilities (NU).

Approximately 20 municipalities and businesses served by CL&P are expected to participate in the research effort. Among the first to sign on to install and maintain charging equipment are UBS in Stamford, the city of Torrington and the towns of Westport and Mansfield. The town of West Hartford is expected to join the project shortly.

We’ve worked hard to make Connecticut an early market for electric vehicles, so we’re excited to launch New England’s first comprehensive, hands-on EV study. By gathering information from municipal and business customers, we can gain tangible experience to help guide future decisions about our infrastructure, our policies and how we will ultimately serve all of our customers as EVs become more common.

—Jeff Butler, CL&P’s president and COO

NU has already installed charging stations at company offices in Berlin and Hartford, Connecticut; Springfield, Massachusetts; and Manchester, New Hampshire. Additionally, NU’s Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECo) subsidiary has one customer site installed and another planned.

The NU companies are also testing Chevy Volts in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute of Palo Alto, California.

To further raise awareness of plug-in EVs, NU developed a new theme, “Plug My Ride,” to connect consumers and other groups interested in electric transportation.

Comments

Reel$$

What is significantly missing from any "study" by a utility is the inclusion of off-grid charging stations like the one Toyota installed in their HQ. Utilities want to maximize the expected surge in EV sales assuming they will all be charging on their grid.

But the Ballard FC demonstrates a near 100% renewable energy plan by using landfill biogas to feed the FC. Likewise, we would like to see solar-based "Free Charge" stations set up in sunbelt States.

A partnership of State, Federal and municipal government along with equipment suppliers (PV panels, power converters etc.) build a series of charge stations that deliver Level II charging free of cost. These could be located in malls or fast food franchises or even a corner of the local Exxon station - if Exxon had any vision of its role in future energy.

We should not assume that the entire EV charging infrastructure rely on grid power. We have wind and solar and biogas fueled FCs that can supply clean, renewable energy for charging electric vehicles. Turning over the EV charging structure to utilities alone guarantees a repeat of big oil energy monopolization. DIVERSITY is the key to avoid making the same mistake again.

SJC

testing Chevy Volts in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute of Palo Alto, California

I think GM has done a lot of testing already. If they mean collecting some more data to show they work and save money on fuel costs, then been there and done that.

Reel$$

Northeast Utilities has little to "test" outside of their new accounting system to keep track of the increased profit they're going to collect.

If things continue to move the way they are... utilities not investing in distributed power technology will find themselves without a residential customer base.

HarveyD

Different players have different interest and goals. Power companies want to sell more energy, specially to night time customers, to maximize their profits. It's the all mighty dollar again with a dose of green to make it more acceptable.

SJC

Some wonder why people are cynical. Power companies want to sell lots of power at night as Harvey said. They pretend to be green but all they want is the green of money from the customers.

Reel$$

Agree. At least electricity is a far greener fuel than combustible fuels. That doesn't end their need to diversify into new, localized power systems or... get left behind when distribution takes hold.

SJC

The great part of the last ten years is we have potential solutions waiting in the wings. We just have to chose the best of the best and actually start implementing some of them.

It may appear that we are too broke now after all of the ignorance to do any of these, but I believe that we can do a few. If I am right about the Exxon and Chevron getting into natural gas for synthetic fuels, then there is an opening.

We will have drop in fuels that do not require imported oil. We can have E10 and someday make that from cellulose but we will also have what I would call S20 or some percentage of synthetic fuels. Anything that gets rid of middle east oil and eventually OPEC oil gets my attention.

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