For Immediate Release: February 8, 2012
Media Contact: Adam Gottlieb - 916-654-4989


Sacramento Area Prepares for Electric Vehicles With Energy Commission Grant

SACRAMENTO - The Sacramento region about to become much more friendly to plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), thanks to a $200,000 planning grant from the California Energy Commission.

"Before cleaner, battery-powered vehicles can become an important part of California's transportation mix, drivers must feel confident they will find adequate charging stations when they need them," said Energy Commissioner Carla Peterman. "With this grant to the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), local planners can decide where best to add chargers in the six county region. Local governments can streamline the permitting, installation and inspection of plug-in chargers, and insure that consumers know about the charging improvements and the benefits provided by electric vehicles."

The $200,000 Energy Commission grant will allow the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, the project's lead entity, to create the "Capital Area Plug-in Electric Vehicle Coordinating Council (CAPEVCC)." The council will include public and private leaders from counties, cities, public agencies, community organizations, private industry, higher education, and utilities. The council will help promote the use of plug-in electric vehicles in the Sacramento area and create a set of consistent best management practices to simplify their introduction.

SACOG will lead the coordinating council with support from the non-profit association Valley Vision, which will also provide match funding of $47,420. Other core members of council include the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District; the Greater Sacramento Regional Clean Air Coalition (Clean Cities); the Yolo/Solano Air Quality Management District; the University of California, Davis; Sacramento County and the cities of Sacramento, Citrus Heights, West Sacramento, Folsom, and Elk Grove; the local utilities Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), Roseville Electric, and Pacific Gas & Electric; and the John L. Sullivan Automotive Group.

The Capital Area Region includes 22 cities in El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties. "Utilities forecast that this area will be a strong early adopter of electric vehicles, and consistent regional planning is needed to encourage that development," said Commissioner Peterman. "With its extensive number of participating agencies, the Capital Area Plug-in Electric Vehicle Coordinating Council will help make the planning process uniform and transparent, open to ideas from a wide range of stakeholders."

With a diverse landscape reaching from the floor of the Sacramento Valley to the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the Capital Region needs to create consistent permitting and inspection guidelines for PEV infrastructure. Currently there can be long wait times for inspectors to approve residential home chargers, and there is a lack of coordinated planning for complex installations at commercial properties, government facilities or multi-unit dwelling complexes. The local utilities also must ensure that any infrastructure improvements made for electric vehicles do not cause supply problems on the local power grid.

This planning grant is one of four approved today by the Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, which supports the use of sustainable transportation fuels. Similar grants went to the San Diego Association of Governments, the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District - entities that represent three other areas of the state where electric vehicle use is expected to be heavy within the next ten years.

The California Air Resources Board recently unanimously approved regulations that require car manufacturers to cut smog emissions from new vehicles by 75 percent by 2025 and reduce greenhouse gases by 34 percent. To meet these goals, the number of plug-in battery electric vehicles in California is expected to double from current levels by 2013 and will reach 460,000 by 2020.

# # #

Assembly Bill 118 (Núñez , Chapter 750, Statutes of 2007) created the California Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The statute, amended by Assembly Bill 109 (Núñez , Chapter 313, Statutes of 2008), authorizes the Energy Commission to develop and deploy alternative and renewable fuels and advanced transportation technologies to help achieve the state's climate change policies. Under the statutes, the Energy Commission invests nearly $100 million a year in a variety of projects, leveraging existing federal, state and local funding and private investments in the process

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.