FERC approval clears path for NRG Energy to turn "range anxiety" into "range confidence" for electric vehicle drivers
NRG Energy(NYSE: NRG), through its eVgo subsidiary, has been cleared to provide Californians with the nation’s most comprehensive electric vehicle (EV) charging network including fast chargers that allow drivers to add 50 miles of range in 15 minutes at premier retail environments. With today’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval of the agreement between the California Public Utilities Commission and NRG, eVgo can now begin work on a network that will raise the bar on convenience for EV drivers.
As part of its agreement with the Commission, NRG is investing approximately $100 million over the next four years in the eVgo California charging network, generating in the process more than 1,500 jobs and a total economic benefit of more than $185 million from employment and procurement of goods and services.
“This approval enables one of the most visionary "public-private partnerships" ever conceived to move forward; enabling NRG to begin bringing the benefits of a comprehensive EV fast charging network to the largest population centers in California,” said David Crane, President and CEO of NRG Energy. “This network will open the door for more California drivers to enjoy the enormous benefits of EV ownership.”
The fee-based eVgo charging network will consist of at least 200 publicly available fast-charging stations conveniently located at premier retail locations in the San Francisco Bay area, the San Joaquin Valley, the Los Angeles Basin and San Diego County.
As part of the agreement, NRG will also facilitate EV ownership for Californians who live in apartment buildings and other multi-unit housing complexes and for Californians hoping to commute to work in an electric vehicle through its "make ready" commitment. eVgo will install the wiring (make readies) for at least 10,000 individual charging stations located at offices, multifamily communities, schools and hospitals.
To help ensure electric vehicle charging is available to Californians of all income levels, NRG will install at least 20 percent of the fast charging stations in low income areas and ensure that mixed-income housing locations are identified, evaluated, and pursued for the individual charging station make readies.
As part of the commitment to California, NRG will spend $5 million in collaboration with researchers and stakeholders on technology demonstration projects that will test new charging and related technologies and invest $4 million, in consultation with The Greenlining Institute, the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative and other key stakeholders, to support low income car-sharing, workforce training, and related opportunity programs.
“With gasoline having just set new record highs, FERC’s decision today couldn’t be more timely or important for California drivers,” said Terry O’Day, Director of Business Development for eVgo in California. “Now that we can start building eVgo fast-charging stations in California, EV drivers should expect range confidence from the first Freedom Station sites in early 2013 and many more to follow.”
In addition to the investment NRG will be making in EV infrastructure to benefit Californians, NRG will contribute $20 million to the California Public Utility Commission for rate payer relief.
“We commend California and the California Public Utility Commission for their forward-looking views on the benefits of Zero Emission Vehicles like EVs and then turning their views into action to actually encourage greater EV ownership,” added Crane. “Together, we are creating an outstanding environment for making EVs an extremely viable, sustainable and fun way to drive in the State.”
The agreement resolves outstanding litigation arising out of a long-term electricity contract entered into over a decade ago by a subsidiary of Dynegy, Inc., then a co-owner with NRG of a portfolio of power generating plants in California. NRG inherited responsibility for resolving this matter in 2006 when the Company acquired Dynegy's 50% interest in the assets.
eVgo Freedom Station sites will begin showing up at California retail locations in early 2013 allowing drivers to add 50 miles of range in 15 minutes.
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