NU is participating with its peers nationwide in the Edison Electric Institute's Plug-In Electric Vehicle Market Readiness Pledge which kicked off in Detroit. Closer to home, NU has joined with other utilities to form the Regional Electric Vehicle Initiative (REVI) with the common goal of advancing electric transportation in the Northeast.
The company has implemented a collaborative approach working with municipal officials, policy leaders and customers to develop EV charging infrastructure approaches in its service areas.
"Our customers and communities are looking to us for energy, environmental and economic solutions that make sense today and for the future," said James B. Robb, NU's senior vice president of Enterprise Planning and Development. "It is critical that the region be prepared for the arrival of plug-in electric vehicles beginning roughly one year from now.
Since spring 2009, NU participated in four applications for federal funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) promoting alternative transportation. According to Robb, three of those applications were selected for DOE awards and final negotiations of terms and conditions.
NU will receive four plug-in, hybrid utility "trouble trucks" through the Electric Power Research Institute's grant program, and NU is a candidate to receive plug-in vehicles as part of Ford Motor Company's grant. In addition, NU will serve as a technical advisor to the West Virginia University/National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium's educational programs for emergency responders, technicians and the general public.
A fourth proposal for federal funding, which featured NU installing 500 home-based charging stations over the next two years, was not selected by DOE.
NU's project team is in discussions with the State of Connecticut and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on additional opportunities to advance electric transportation. NU is also serving as a board member of the U.S. Green Parking Council currently in formation.
"The more groups that get involved, the more we can learn about supporting EV technologies and assessing their impact on our electric distribution system," noted Robb. "Our immediate focus is on EV charging stations and finding the right business models as the industry takes shape. We are all in the learning mode and want to be prepared to support consumers interested in EVs as the new models come to market."