For Immediate Release: May 8, 2013
Media Contact: Alison apRoberts - 916-654-4989

MEDIA ADVISORY

Energy Commission Keeps State on Track
to Reach Clean Transportation Goals
New Investment Plan Refines Priorities and Opportunities
for Transforming California's Vehicles and Fuels


SACRAMENTO – The California Energy Commission today unanimously adopted the 2013-2014 Investment Plan Update to support the development and use of green vehicles and alternative fuels. The update sets funding priorities for the approximately $100 million in annual state funds under the Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Technology (ARFVT) Program, created by Assembly Bill 118.

"This investment plan provides a solid foundation for the continued transformation of California's transportation sector," said Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller. "The plan will guide the Commission in supporting projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, increase fuel diversity to reduce reliance on petroleum, and help create jobs. These efforts benefit all Californians by protecting the environment and public health, and ensuring the state continues to be a leader in green technology."

Funding priorities through the ARFVT Program support fuel and vehicle development to help attain the state's climate change policies. In addition, the program funds projects that assist in fulfilling Governor Brown's Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) Action Plan, with a target of installing enough infrastructure to support 1 million ZEVs by 2020, and a 2025 target of having 1.5 million ZEVs on the state's roads.

Investments made through the program's competitive solicitation process provide a crucial jump-start in funding to overcome market barriers for new fuels and technology, while leveraging additional investment from federal agencies, research institutions, private investors and other stakeholders.

"We provide needed funding to cutting edge technologies. Using public money to supplement private sector investments and hedge financial risk is critical to getting new technology cars, trucks and fuels into our California markets," Chair Weisenmiller said.

The program funds projects to encourage the development and use of new technologies and alternative and renewable fuels, including electricity, natural gas, biomethane, hydrogen, and gasoline and diesel substitutes, such as cellulosic ethanol (derived from woody materials, including agricultural waste), and biodiesel from waste grease. Funding sources include small surcharges on vehicle and vessel registrations, and license plate and smog abatement fees.

The program is essential to California's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, as required by AB 32; decrease petroleum fuel use to 15 percent below 2003 levels by 2020; increase the use of alternative fuels to 26 percent of all fuel consumed by 2022; and reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides to 80 percent of 2010 levels by 2023 to help meet federal ozone standards in areas of California such as the San Joaquin Valley and South Coast air basins.

Currently, the state's transportation sector accounts for nearly 40 percent of the state's greenhouse gas emissions, and more than 95 percent of all transportation energy consumed in California is petroleum-based.

Among the ARFVT Program's achievements to date:

  • Awards have leveraged more than $450 million in additional private and public investment.
  • More than 5,750 Californians have received job training.
  • Approximately 5,400 short- and long-term jobs have been created through funded projects.
  • More than $390 million has been awarded to more than 220 projects.
  • Supporting alternative fuels and vehicle technologies that can displace more than 375 million gallons of petroleum fuel (equivalent to removing 1 million or more cars) and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 2.7 million metric tons by 2020.
  • Funding for more than 7,150 electric vehicle charging points, creating the largest charging network of any state.
  • Laying the groundwork for the largest hydrogen fuel cell vehicle fueling network in the country through funding of 17 hydrogen fueling stations.
  • Applications for close to $1.5 billion for nearly 400 projects beyond available funding attest to the need for - and interest in - the program.

The investment plan update was developed with the input of the ARFVT Program Advisory Committee, stakeholders and the public. This new update covers the fifth year of this innovative program, which is unique to California.

The state's investments in these projects are safeguarded by matching fund requirements for awardees, and by making payments on a reimbursement basis after invoices are submitted, reviewed and approved.

The 2013-2014 plan update allocates $100 million to projects in the following areas:

  • $23 million for biofuels production and supply, with an emphasis on fuels made from waste-based and other low-carbon, sustainable materials.
  • $20 million for hydrogen fueling infrastructure. An estimated 68 stations are needed to support the anticipated rollout of these vehicles in 2015-2017. Roughly 24 stations are built or in development.
  • $15 million for medium- and heavy-duty electric truck and hybrid vehicle demonstration projects.
  • $12 million for natural gas vehicle incentives. These incentives help to pay the difference between the cost of alternative-fuel vehicles and conventional vehicles. Buyers must agree to register and operate the vehicles in California at least 90 percent of the time for three years.
  • $7 million for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, coordinated to fulfill the Governor's ZEV Action Plan. Workplace, fleet and multi-unit dwelling projects will be given priority.
  • $5 million for light-duty plug-in electric vehicle rebates to meet high demand for the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, administered by the California Air Resources Board.
  • $5 million for manufacturing projects, supporting economic development and clean transportation technology.
  • $4 million to emerging opportunities. This allocation is not specifically tied to any single fuel or technology type, with a priority for projects that can leverage federal funding.
  • $3.5 million for regional alternative fuel readiness and planning, building on previous projects supporting these efforts.
  • $2 million for centers for alternative fuels and advanced vehicles to support collaborative efforts that promote innovation, demonstrate new technologies, leverage venture capital and federal funds, and provide workforce training.
  • $2 million to workforce training and development.
  • $1.5 million for natural gas fueling infrastructure to support growing use of these alternative fuel vehicles by many entities, including school districts.

What others are saying about the Energy Commission's ARFVT Program

The Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program provides the far-sighted public funding and guidance that have been key to making California a leader in clean transportation. It's essential that this public effort continue so that California can meet its economic, energy and environmental goals.

- Christine Kehoe, Executive Director, California Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative


 

The Energy Commission's AB 118 program literally saves lives by helping to put cleaner cars and trucks on California's roadways. Thoughtful public investment, like the AB 118 program, is critical to the state's ability to make progress toward our state and federal air quality targets, and improve community health. This is money very well spent, especially when you consider the many billions of dollars in health and economic costs that our dependence on dirty fuels exacts every year.

- Bonnie Holmes-Gen, Senior Director, Policy and Advocacy, American Lung Association in California


 

The Energy Commission's investments in alternative fuels and vehicles make a tremendous difference. They are key to helping California reduce greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and petroleum dependence. They also provide clear economic benefits, leveraging additional investment and creating jobs.

- Tim Carmichael, President, California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition


 

On behalf of all the men and women who come to work every day to be part of a great technology company, and also to put food on the table and put their kids through college, I want to thank the California Energy Commission for its support. It has helped us leverage our own investments and federal funding, and has been key to helping us grow our company. Investing in advanced technologies is a smart move that will ensure California benefits economically from a growing clean-transportation industry.

- Alex Fay, Business Development Manager, Quallion LLC

Quallion, a battery manufacturer based in Sylmar, Los Angeles County, received an award in 2012 to expand its manufacturing capacity and improve the performance of lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles.


 

The California Energy Commission provided crucial funding allowing CleanWorld to scale-up its Sacramento biodigester to 40,000 tons per year, making it the largest commercial facility in the United States to convert food scraps and organic waste into renewable transportation fuel using anaerobic digestion. This is an historic example of how the California Energy Commission partnered with private industry to lead a technology revolution that will dramatically reduce garbage and pollution while creating a clean energy future.

- Michele Wong, Chief Executive Officer, CleanWorld

CleanWorld received an award in 2012 to scale-up its Sacramento biodigester from 10,000 tons of food waste per year to 40,000 tons per year. This is waste that would have ended up in landfills, but now will be used to produce more than 500,000 gallons of renewable natural gas, and generate 3.17 million kilowatt hours of electricity every year.


 

 

Find the 2013-2014 Investment Plan Update for the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program here: www.energy.ca.gov/2012-ALT-2/documents/index.html



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The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, six basic responsibilities guide the Energy Commission as it sets state energy policy: forecasting future energy needs; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state's appliance and building efficiency standards; supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs; developing renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry and transportation; planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies.

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