Skinner: California should require that EVs can power homes, businesses

The record heatwaves and devastating wildfires that California has experienced in recent years have often forced utility companies to turn off the power, leaving our homes and businesses without electricity. As the climate crisis intensifies, such extraordinary events are likely to occur more frequently, leaving us with more outages and placing a substantial strain on our electric grid, both in summer and winter.

Many Californians have increasingly responded to days-long power outages and rolling blackouts by purchasing backup generators, especially diesel generators. While it makes sense that we would want to avoid losing power, fossil-fuel backup generators, particularly diesel ones, produce significant amounts of air pollution and are harmful to public health.

Fortunately, there is already a green alternative that has the potential to eliminate or greatly reduce the need for fossil-fuel generators — the batteries in electric vehicles.

EVs are becoming very popular, particularly in the Bay Area, and EV batteries have the potential to be mini power plants on wheels. Currently, they have the ability to power a home for up to three days. And some automakers, including Ford, with its F-150 Lightning pickup truck, are aggressively marketing the capability of EVs to energize homes.

That’s why I’m authoring legislation this year, Senate Bill 233, to require all new EVs sold in the state by 2030 to have the ability to power a home or business. This technology is known as bidirectional charging or vehicle-to-home charging. SB 233 has passed the state Senate and is now in the Assembly.


For the full op-ed, click here.