Here in Warren, Ohio, we’re going to see a lot more changes taken place than we’ve seen in years. There will be more jobs, better infrastructure -- the roads will be less vulnerable -- and it’s all thanks to an electrified future.
The Edison Electric Institute estimates 18 million electric vehicles (EVs) will be on U.S. roads by 2030. Ohio is playing a significant hand in bringing those numbers to fruition. With everything from cars to batteries to technological parts -- Ohio’s changing the game through its contributions towards a more electric and sustainable future.
With an industry poised on bringing a halt to excess emissions and eliminating the carbon footprint, entirely, it's no surprise that FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) would eventually join the Electric Highway Coalition.
It’s important to note that Ohio-Edison is a subsidiary of FirstEnergy, which serves our area. Ohio-Edison serves more than 1 million customers in northeast and north-central Ohio, including Warren, Niles, Lordstown and the rest of the Trumbull-Mahoning County Area.
A Coalition of Companies on a Mission for a More Sustainable Future
The EHC is a group of electric companies committed to enabling the travel of long-distance electric vehicles (EVs) across the U.S. They do this by powering a network of EV fast-charging stations and connecting these systems across major highway systems and roadways.
The group was formed in March 2021 and includes many of the nation's leading utilities in 29 states and the District of Columbia.
Members are committed to growing EV charging solutions within their service territories and working together to ensure efficient and effective fast-charging deployment plans that enable long-distance EV travel. They also make sure to avoid duplication among coalition utilities and complement any existing fast-charging sites along the power grid.
Serving a collective of more than 60 million customers, members include:
- American Electric Power
- Consolidated Edison
- DTE Energy
- Dominion Energy
- Duke Energy
- Entergy Corporation
- Eversource Energy
- ITC Holdings Corp.
- National Grid
- Southern Company
- The Tennessee Valley Authority
Building a New Infrastructure to Include Electric Charging Stations
FirstEnergy is engaged in active discussion with energy regulators and legislators in the states it serves. Its ultimate goal is to support the expansion of an EV infrastructure with the potential of changing the world.
Because utilities know the electrical grid better than other entities, companies like FirstEnergy are uniquely positioned to ensure that EV programs are effective both financially and as far as operations are concerned.
For this, FirstEnergy openly accepts the challenge of implementing such infrastructure without disrupting power -- or at least minimizing downtime -- for the millions of customers it could potentially inconvenience.
"We look forward to working with the members of the Electric Highway Coalition to support a network of stations that provides convenient fast-charging options for EV drivers as they travel across major regions of the country," said Meghan Beringer, FirstEnergy's director of Emerging Technologies Strategy.
"Joining the EHC will help expand our ability to provide customers with opportunities to utilize electric vehicles in their everyday lives."
While many drivers recognize the benefits of driving an EV, some are concerned with the availability of charging stations during long road trips. Through their unified efforts, the members of the EHC are addressing this "range anxiety" and demonstrating to customers that EVs are a smart choice for traveling both long distances and just driving around town.
FirstEnergy has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and has set an interim goal for a 30% reduction in greenhouse gases within the company's direct operational control by 2030.
5-Year Pilot Program to Test First Fast-Charge Stations
Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy, installed its first fast-charging stations, also known as direct-current fast chargers (DCFC), in its Maryland-based service area earlier this year. These stations are now part of Potomac Edison's EV-driven pilot program. They pledge to reduce auto emissions by supporting Maryland's goal to reach 300,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025.
Fast-charging stations can provide an 80% charge for most vehicles in less than an hour, enabling drivers to recharge during the day or on a break. But, unfortunately, when we get them, there’s really no answer.
However, this program in Maryland will last 5 years and will lead to the installation of more than 59 charging stations, including 20 fast-charging stations, across the region. Much data will be collected over the duration of this project and used in the integration of a total six-state overhaul in the years to come.
The company is also taking steps to electrify its own vehicle fleet of electric vehicles, previously announcing that the company's new purchases of aerial and light-duty trucks will be electric or hybrid vehicles.
First Energy will Power its Own Fleet of Electric Vehicles
As the company transitions to its current gas-driven fleet of vehicles, these cleaner-powered options will be part of FirstEnergy's more extensive efforts to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions company-wide. They plan to support transportation electrification efforts in most of its six-state service areas. Yes, this includes Warren.
According to FirstEnergy, “Subsidiary, JCP&L, filed a petition with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities seeking approval for its own proposed EV Driven program. If approved, the program would offer incentives and rate structures to support the development of EV charging infrastructure throughout JCP&L's service territory in an effort to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles.”
FirstEnergy expects to electrify 30% of its approximately 3,400 light-duty and aerial fleet vehicles by 2030, representing 1,034 vehicles, with the goal of reaching 100% electrification by 2050. The 30% fleet replacement target has the potential to annually eliminate approximately 10,000 metric tons of GHG emissions while saving more than 3.8 million gallons of fuel from 2021-2030.