For Immediate Release: May 6, 2010
Media Contact: Susanne Garfield - 916-654-4989


Air Quality Improvements in Southland Expected with New Funding
California Energy Commission Awards $10 Million to South Coast Air

SACRAMENTO - In two separate awards, the California Energy Commission recently approved $10,142,000 in grants for the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Funds come from the Energy Commission's Alternative & Renewable Fuel Vehicle Technology program.

The funds will be used to demonstrate plug-in hybrid electric technology for a broad range of vehicles and to replace 180 heavy-duty diesel trucks hauling goods from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The U.S. Department of Energy is providing an additional $37,402,879 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for the projects.

"The potential to reduce air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions with these projects is impressive," said California Energy Commission Vice Chairman James Boyd. "The south coast air basin is one of the worst in the nation for quality and I am very glad we are able to approve projects that target these issues."

The District will build a plug-in hybrid system consisting of 107 fleet vehicles, such as trucks, aerial lift utility trucks, and shuttle buses for statewide testing and demonstration. The program will also develop and install a system of "smart" vehicle charging stations. As California transitions to cleaner, more efficient technologies, projects like these will show important benefits, like an estimated fuel savings of four million to seven million gallons per year by 2015.

The trucks being replaced will run on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and are owned and operated by individuals and companies currently doing business at the two ports. The new LNG-fueled trucks will eliminate 1,479,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually used by the old trucks. Additionally, pollutants like carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, nitrous oxide, particulate matter, and greenhouse gases will be reduced by over 400,000 pounds per year with the changeover.

Approximately 152 jobs will be created in the U.S. during the first two years of the truck conversion project. Industries and "green tech" jobs positively affected by these projects include alternative fueled vehicle manufacturing, vehicle dealerships, truck operators, mechanics, and educators and trainers for outreach and educational programs.

The Alternative & Renewable Fuel Vehicle Technology program was created under the mandates of Assembly Bill 118 to develop and position alternative and renewable fuels and advanced transportation technologies that will advance California towards meeting the state's climate change goals. The program's annual budget of approximately $100,000,000 supports projects that include developing and improving alternative and renewable low-carbon fuels and light- and medium-duty vehicle technologies; expanding fueling infrastructure, fueling stations, and equipment; establishing workforce training programs; and creating technology centers.

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