Chugach Electric Offers Electric Vehicle Incentive Programs
Chugach Electric Association is offering several new electric vehicle (EV) related incentives to promote the use of EVs in Alaska. Individually, the incentives are intended to help the utility’s members interested in owning and driving an EV and the businesses that would like to serve them. Collectively, the programs will help Chugach learn more about the trend toward transportation electrification and its impacts on the power grid.
There are two types of EVs that connect to the grid, and both qualify for the incentive programs. Battery electric vehicles are all-electric and generally have a range of 200-300 miles on a full charge. Plug-in electric hybrids travel for a limited range (25-40 miles) on battery power before switching to an internal combustion engine. Both are present in Alaska.
The incentive programs from Chugach provide bill credits for residential and commercial members who install charging equipment. Additional programs target specific types of members, like hotels and fleet owners, with reimbursements for adding EV charging stations. All are available now for Chugach members. Another Chugach program will be available in the future once rental car companies begin offering EVs for rent. One will help pay the cost of an extended rental for Chugach members who want to see what it is like to drive an EV. The other will help lease an EV for one or more Chugach members who are transportation network drivers.
Chugach has multiple goals in offering the initiatives including helping members build business, reducing range anxiety for drivers, and growing beneficial load that spreads fixed costs across more unit sales. An additional benefit of the program is to gain information that may be useful in the development of alternative rate options for EV charging.
The new Chugach programs follow an EV charging research program initiated by the cooperative in 2019. Under that program, Chugach is helping interested commercial members install publicly available charging stations in exchange for thirty-six months of usage information. So far charging stations have been installed by Alyeska Resort and JL Properties (for the South Anchorage Mall complex that includes South Restaurant and other businesses), with others at the Dimond Center and a Municipality of Anchorage parking lot near The Rustic Goat expected later this year. Early indications are that EV drivers are finding and using these facilities, and in the process attracting business to the hosts.
Ultimately, Chugach wants to be prepared to serve what is forecast to be an increasing shift to electric vehicles in coming years. Chugach’s own research has shown a near-doubling of the number of electric vehicles registered in Alaska in the last few years. At the end of June, there were nearly 1,200 EVs in Alaska, with almost half of them registered to addresses in the Railbelt.