PRPA Launchs EV Study

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Electric Vehicle charging (Photo by Macie May/ Longmont Observer)

There is a rising trend in electric transportation. “Of the light-duty vehicles registered in Platte River’s service territory, 0.4 percent are EVs, nearly twice the Colorado state average, according to the 2018 City of Fort Collins’ EV Readiness Roadmap,” states a Platte River Power Authority (PRPA) press release.

In February, PRPA launched a year-long study to better understand how EV (electric vehicle) energy is being used in the region, according to Joel Danforth, the distributed energy resources manager for PRPA. Additionally, the study will help PRPA understand the effects of EV adoption on the grid as a whole.

As an incentive to regional customers, PRPA is offering a $200 rebate for customers who purchase an EV charging station. An additional $154 instant manufacturer’s rebate is available for the first 100 people to purchase the JuiceBox Pro 40 plug-in charging station.

The new charging stations are an important part of the study. The suggested stations connect and communicate to the grid, allowing PRPA to monitor what time of day EVs are being charged. This will enable them to determine the impact of EV charging usage during peak hours.

Fort Collins recently implemented a new time-of-day charging system. Electricity used during these hours has a lower rate than other times, allowing for customers to reduce their electricity costs.

Danforth mentioned that part of the study will look to see if people in the Fort Collins area utilize this time more for recharging their cars. The data gathered in Fort Collins will compared with other PRPA service areas to determine future services.

After the data is collected from the year-long study, PRPA will be able to approach customers with new services that will meet their needs in regards to charging their EVs.

To participate in the study, EV chargers need to be able to communicate with PRPA using JuiceNet firmware from eMotorWerks. There are three manufacturers of chargers that PRPA has identified to work with this firmware, Clippercreek, Aerovironment and JuiceBox.

This study, along with several others, are PRPA’s way of moving toward the goal of using only renewable energy by 2030. Currently, the power company is 32% of the way there. They will reach the 50% mark when they add an additional 20 megawatts of solar power to the grid in the near future. Also, there is an effort being made at the Round House project that will triple their wind energy production.

In the meantime, EV owners are encouraged by PRPA to participate in the study. After the study is completed, PRPA plans to work with participants to create new services to better serve their electric usage needs.

Questions about this study can be directed to EVinfo@prpa.org.

To participate, consumers must:

  • Be an EV owner and customer of Estes Park Light & Power, Fort Collins Utilities, Longmont Power & Communications or Loveland Water and Power
  • Agree to rebate terms and conditions
  • Have or acquire a 240-volt NEMA 14-50 service outlet to connect the charger (may require an electrician)
  • Have WiFi internet access
  • Purchase one of four smart level 2 charging stations from the Efficiency Works Store

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