HOME > News

Maryland Assembly Passes Bill on Bidirectional EV Charging and VPP, Next Stop: Governor's Desk

published: 2024-04-09 16:56

Maryland's House of Delegates has passed a significant bill on April 4th that aims to accelerate the integration of bidirectional electric vehicle (EV) charging systems and incentivize customers for providing grid services through virtual power plant (VPP) networks. This legislative milestone, known as the Distributed Renewable Integration and Vehicle Electrification Act, mandates electric utilities to submit detailed plans for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging to the Maryland Public Service Commission by April 2025 and VPP plans by July 2025. Additionally, the bill sets a deadline of September 2028 for the implementation of time-of-use rates by Maryland's utilities. The passage of this bill is a crucial step towards achieving Maryland's clean energy goals and reducing its reliance on fossil fuels. By pairing battery storage with renewable energy generation, the state aims to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change and promote a more sustainable energy future. The bill's lead sponsor, Del. David Fraser-Hidalgo, emphasized the importance of this legislation in an email to Utility Dive, stating that it will help Maryland achieve its clean energy objectives and contribute to the global effort to combat climate change. As the bill has already been approved by the Senate, it is now heading to the desk of Maryland Governor Wes Moore, who is expected to sign it into law. Once enacted, the legislation will require electric utilities to expedite the interconnection of bidirectional EV charging systems, which will enable electric vehicles to not only charge from the grid but also feed electricity back into it. This two-way flow of energy can help balance the grid during times of high demand and provide essential grid services such as frequency regulation and load balancing.

The bill also calls for the establishment of VPP networks, which will aggregate the distributed energy resources of multiple EVs and other renewable energy sources. These networks will allow for better coordination and optimization of these resources, further enhancing the reliability and resilience of the electric grid. By participating in VPPs, EV owners will be compensated for the grid services they provide, creating an incentive for consumers to adopt electric vehicles and support the transition to a cleaner energy system. In addition to these provisions, the bill sets a deadline for the implementation of time-of-use rates by Maryland's utilities. Time-of-use rates are pricing structures that vary the cost of electricity based on the time of day, reflecting the fluctuations in demand and supply on the grid. By encouraging consumers to shift their energy usage to off-peak times, time-of-use rates can help reduce peak demand and further integrate renewable energy sources into the grid. Overall, the passage of the Distributed Renewable Integration and Vehicle Electrification Act marks a significant milestone in Maryland's efforts to transition to a more sustainable and resilient energy system. By promoting the adoption of bidirectional EV charging and VPPs, the state is taking proactive steps to harness the potential of electric vehicles as a valuable resource for the grid. As the bill moves closer to becoming law, it will set the stage for a cleaner, more equitable, and more resilient energy future for Maryland and beyond.

The DRIVE Act, poised to become law in Maryland, heralds a transformative era for the state's energy landscape. This pioneering legislation not only mandates electric utilities to expedite the integration of bidirectional electric vehicle (EV) charging systems but also paves the way for customers with distributed energy resources (DERs), such as rooftop solar panels and home batteries, to receive compensation for providing crucial grid services. In a significant development, the passage of the DRIVE Act adds Maryland to an elite group of states and territories where utility customers can earn rewards for their participation in virtual power plant (VPP) networks. These networks aggregate the collective power of DERs, enabling them to provide essential grid services such as frequency regulation and load balancing, thereby enhancing the overall stability and reliability of the electricity grid. Drawing inspiration from successful VPP initiatives in California, Texas, and Puerto Rico, the DRIVE Act represents a groundbreaking effort by Maryland to support bidirectional EV charging at the state level. This technology enables EVs to feed electricity back into the grid during peak demand periods, effectively turning them into mobile power plants that can help alleviate strain on local grids.

As the adoption of bidirectional-capable EVs and solar-plus-storage systems becomes increasingly common across Maryland, the DRIVE Act is expected to reduce the need for new transmission and distribution infrastructure. This shift towards smaller-scale DERs could significantly ease the burden on the congested PJM Interconnection region, potentially saving ratepayers from bearing the brunt of costly grid expansion projects. The PJM interconnection process, which has been undergoing reforms since last year, remains backed up with requests to such an extent that some proposed generation projects may not become operational until the end of the decade. The recent reforms, approved by FERC in late 2022, include a pause on new approvals until early 2026, leaving a gap in the interim that smaller-scale DERs could fill while reducing the reliance on traditional grid expansion methods. "Robin Dutta, acting executive director of the Chesapeake Solar and Storage Association, envisions a future where DERs play a vital role in augmenting the grid's capacity, especially given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding PJM's longer-term transmission and distribution plans. Dutta emphasizes the importance of exploring 'non-wires' alternatives to expand the grid, aiming to minimize the necessity for large-scale infrastructure projects. Furthermore, advocates anticipate that the DRIVE Act will contribute significantly to grid resiliency, particularly in the wake of extreme weather events like Winter Storm Elliott, which caused approximately 13% of Eastern Interconnection's generation resources to fail in late 2022.

"Thad Culley, Director of Public Policy at Sunrun, praises the DRIVE Act as a monumental step forward in Maryland's commitment to building a resilient grid capable of withstanding the challenges posed by severe weather conditions. As Maryland Governor Wes Moore is anticipated to sign the DRIVE Act imminently, the stage is set for the state to embrace a cleaner, more sustainable, and resilient energy future. The enactment of this legislation marks a milestone in Maryland's journey towards becoming a leader in renewable energy, demonstrating its dedication to mitigating the adverse effects of climate change and fostering a more equitable energy system for all."

announcements add announcements     mail print