So far, investor-owned companies have plans approved for just $2.6 billion in charging programs and projects, according to trade group Edison Electric Institute.
“The electrification of the transportation sector will catch most utilities a little bit off guard,” said Ben Kroposki, director of the Power Systems Engineering Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
The organization estimates that, by 2050, the electrification of transportation and other sectors will require a doubling of U.S. generation capacity.
If not managed carefully, the needed investments could saddle consumers with higher energy bills, according to a report last month by California’s utility regulator. Another challenge: lower-income customers often can’t afford to make the upfront investment in electric cars, home batteries and rooftop solar systems that could save them money in the long term.