The California Energy Commission has adopted the state’s first transportation Investment Plan. The Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Technology Program’s Investment Plan allocates $176 million over the next two years to stimulate green transportation projects and encourage innovation to help meet the state’s aggressive climate change policies.
The Alternative and Renewable Fuels Vehicle Technology Program was established by Assembly Bill 118 (Núñez, Chapter 750, Statutes of 2007) and is an essential element of the California's climate change and energy policies. The state is aggressively working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, decrease petroleum fuel use to 15% below 2003 levels by 2020, and increase alternative fuel use to 20% by 2020.
Vehicles are the major contributor to global warming pollution. More than 38 percent of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in California come from burning gasoline and diesel in cars and trucks. The Investment Plan promotes sustainable development. With it, California is embarking on a fundamental transformation of its transportation system to substantially decrease greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum use.—Vice Chair James Boyd
Achieving these multiple objectives will require a portfolio of new fuels and vehicle technologies including electric drive and fuel cell vehicles, low-carbon biofuels, gasoline and diesel vehicles with far greater fuel economy, and natural gas and propane vehicles.
AB 118 authorizes the Energy Commission to provide approximately $120 million annually over seven years to develop these new fuels and technologies, ensure that they are accessible to the public, and encourage motorists and fleet operators to purchase new advanced vehicles.
In its newly adopted Investment Plan, the Energy Commission proposes to expand the use of low carbon fuels and cleaner vehicles that are available today and open up the market for the more exotic technologies that are required in the future. Over the next two years, the Energy Commission will invest:
- $46 million for electric vehicles, public charging stations, and manufacturing plants;
- $40 million for hydrogen fueling stations;
- $12 million for advanced ethanol fuel production facilities and E-85 fueling stations;
- $43 million for natural gas vehicles, fueling stations and biomethane production facilities;
- $6 million for advanced renewable diesel and biodiesel facilities; and
- $2 million for propane vehicles.
The Investment Plan also directs $27 million go to fund workforce training programs, research, public education and technical assistance programs. The Investment Plan recognizes the importance of leveraging existing federal, state and local funding with public and private cost sharing. The Energy Commission’s first AB 118 grant solicitation, released 22 April, is focused on those who are applying to the federal government under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for the funding of transportation projects.
A public workshop will take place 27 April at the Energy Commission in Sacramento to discuss the solicitation’s objectives, process, timeline, and the potential projects that could be funded with AB 118 and ARRA funds.