APPA News

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
Posted May 15, 2019

Lincoln Electric System on May 14 said that it will receive $20,200 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for the public power utility’s electric vehicle data collection project.

The trust’s board announced funding for the project at a recent meeting. The LES project is one of the 117 projects receiving $19,501,444 in grant awards from the Nebraska Environmental Trust this year. Of these, 85 were new applications and 32 are carry-over projects.

LES began collecting data for its two-year study, focused on charging behaviors and the associated impact on the local grid, in November 2018 and will conclude in 2020.

The electric utility is working with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Engineering to investigate customers’ charging and driving behaviors in the Lincoln area. FleetCarma is helping facilitate the study by providing the data collection platform and anonymizing the data for customer privacy.

The study is working to reveal when and where customers charge, when and how far they travel and the energy consumed while both traveling and recharging, LES noted.

“While limited plug-in electric vehicle evaluations have been conducted across the country, few if any have focused on an area like Lincoln,” said Chris Gearhart, National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Transportation and Hydrogen Systems Center director. “Nebraska’s capital city and the surrounding areas are a snapshot of the Midwest — a midsized area that experiences the extremes of all four weather seasons. The high-quality charging and driving data collected through LES’ study will be greatly beneficial to the industry going forward.”

Along with the Nebraska Environmental Trust’s grant, LES was previously awarded a $46,075 grant from the American Public Power Association’s Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments program to help support the project.

Separately, LES is conducting a survey with the Electric Power Research Institute to better understand its customers’ appetite for electric vehicles.

Other Nebraska public power utilities are also taking action related to EVs. In June 2018, the Omaha Public Power District began a pilot program to educate its customers about the benefits of electric vehicles.

In January 2018, Nebraska Public Power District unveiled details of a pilot program under which owners of electric vehicles will receive a $200 incentive if they install a charging station at their home.

NPPD received grant from trust for solar/storage project

The City Council for Norfolk, Neb., on April 15 approved an agreement for the state’s largest community solar project with Nebraska Public Power District that will be tied to a battery energy storage system (BESS) demonstration project expected to be in operation by mid-2020.

NPPD, with support from the city of Norfolk, received a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust in the amount of $490,000 over two years for the BESS project, which will be the first of its kind in the state.