In February 2022, the U.S. Government, in a joint effort between the Department of Transportation and the Department of Energy working together as the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, rolled out the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program. NEVI details the process for distributing the first $5 billion of this funding.
Of the many sectors of the world’s economy involved in the clean energy transition, the electrification of the transportation sector is one of the most important. It is also one that over the last several years has picked up a lot of momentum, even in the famously car dependent United States. NEVI was created out of this need. To help further the U.S. electric vehicle (EV) transition, passed in 2021 the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law), sponsored by President Biden, deadicates up to $7.5 billion of funding for strengthening the U.S. EV charging infrastructure.
NEVI funding formula
The NEVI funding formula process includes a quick timetable for state governments to submit their plans for locating electric vehicle charging stations, asking them to submit them by August 1st, 2022. By most standards, this is asking for a quick turnaround, especially since many state transportation departments have a lot of experience in road planning but have less in EV charging infrastructure planning, as required by the NEVI funding formula. CleanGrid, Intertrust’s toolkit for helping utilities and their partners solve data issues in EV charging station planning, is a useful resource to support states and their partners in meeting the NEVI requirements.
EV charging station planning is a data-intensive process. This is especially true when the goal is, as stated by the NEVI formula platform requirements, planning infrastructure to support the installation of fast charging stations. One port on a fast charging station can require up to 400 kW of electricity and an installation with four fast charging ports could require up to 1600 kW of electricity. To put that in perspective, this is the equivalent of the output of two industrial diesel power generators.
For a charging network operator, state, municipality or others involved in the planning ecosystem, they will need to work with the local grid operator to determine if the grid can support an interconnection able to handle the requested load. If not, the grid operator needs to let the planners know the cost for a new or upgraded interconnection. For many grid operators, this means querying multiple datasets which may, or may not, easily work together. The grid operator may also need to be concerned with NEVI funding formula regulations governing the sharing of this data. Providing answers could take time, up to several months in some cases.
There are other data related issues to think about as well. Even if the grid can support an EV charging station in a certain location, will there be customers for it? NEVI adds another twist to this. It is designed to support one of the goals of the Biden Administration which is to target underserved communities. To factor these considerations into the planning process, data such as traffic patterns, demographics, building information, car registration, crowd sourced data, or even the charging state of nearby EVs can be useful for NEVI planning. Accessing this data, putting the queries together, and managing the rights associated with the data can be difficult and time consuming.
Intertrust Platform is an interoperability layer specifically designed to tie together multiple datasets, regardless of data format or physical location. With powerful data governance and auditing features, it can also ensure that appropriate NEVI data rights and regulations associated with particular datasets are followed when sharing data. This works both internally within organizations, which can be a barrier to data flows, as well as externally.
CleanGrid is a toolkit built on top of Intertrust Platform. It consists of EV Data Operations and other applications that help both tie together and visualize grid and other datasets. By doing so, it can simplify the process of siting distributed energy resources (DERs), of which EV charging stations are an important category. CleanGrid is already used around the world to help plan EV charging infrastructure and is an ideal companion for NEVI focused planning. One example is DigiKoo, a subsidiary of the European energy giant E.ON, which is using CleanGrid to work with municipalities to plan EV charging station siting. Clean Fuels Ohio is also using CleanGrid to help with siting EV charging stations along the I-80 Corridor in Ohio.
To find out more about how CleanGrid can help state planners and their partners meet the NEVI NEVI formula platform guidelines and other challenges with EV charging infrastructure planning, download the CleanGrid white paper here.