GSEP hosts discussion on utilities and transportation electrification

June 23, 2016

Yesterday, the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership (GSEP) and Hydro-Québec (HQ), the current GSEP Chair Company, hosted a panel discussion on the challenges utilities face in accelerating transportation electrification. The event, organized in collaboration with Electric Mobility Canada (EMC), was complementary to the 29th World Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exhibition (EVS29) held in Montreal. The discussion centred on the issues critical to utilities’ business models in developing electric transportation and experiences and perspectives from companies on deploying electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure.

Panelists agreed that transportation electrification will play a key role in the future of energy systems, and that EVs can help utilities and countries move towards their decarbonisation goals. “When we talk about the development of transportation, the first question is why: why is a utility like Enel working in transportation? In the end, it’s energy storage, and it’s a very important asset in the energy system,” said Jorge Sánchez Cifuentes, Head of Living Labs and Innovation in Network Technology at Enel.

Transportation electrification opens many new opportunities for electricity companies around the world. “The key word is leadership: utilities are actually taking a leadership role in terms of how they view electrification,” said Dr. Lawrence Jones, Vice President of International Programs at Edison Electric Institute. “As utilities try to modernize their fleet of vehicles, there are a lot of lessons learned that could be applied to electrification on a broader scale.”

Past experiences in deploying EV infrastructure and programs were shared, and panelists and audience members openly exchanged ideas on what could be done in the future.

"Our focus coming in the next few years is really on the DC Fast Chargers (DC FC). We want to cover all the major highways. We are doing one DC FC per location all along the highways but eventually we want to build the station of the future: stations where we have several DC FCs,” said France Lampron, Director of Transportation Electrification at Hydro-Québec.

Some 40 representatives from North American and European utilities, electric vehicle companies and associations, and research and development groups attended the conference.

The GSEP companies are committed to leading the global effort to avoid and reduce GHG emissions and electric vehicles are one of many technologies that can help meet global climate challenges.