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


San Diego Region Prepares for
Electric Vehicles With Energy Commission Grant

SACRAMENTO - The San Diego region about to become much more friendly to plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), thanks to a planning grant of nearly $200,000 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 San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), local planners can decide where best to add chargers in this vital 4,200-square mile corner of Southern California. 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 $ $199,379 Energy Commission grant will allow SANDAG, the project's lead entity, to create the "San Diego Regional Plug-in Electric Vehicle Coordinating Council (REVI)," a group of public and private leaders from counties, cities, public agencies, community organizations, private industry, higher education, and utilities. In addition, SANDAG will provide $50,451 in match funds. The council will help promote the use of plug-in electric vehicles in the San Diego area and create a set of consistent best management practices to simplify their introduction.

Members of REVI will include San Diego County; the Cities of Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Escondido, San Diego, and Solana Beach; and three regional public agencies including the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, the San Diego Air Pollution Control District, and the San Diego Unified Port District. Also included is the San Diego Regional Clean Fuels Coalition (designated as the US Department of Energy Clean Cities Coalition); the California Center for Sustainable Energy; the University of California, San Diego; Miramar College Advanced Transportation Technology and Energy Center; electric vehicle technology companies ECOtality and AeroVironment; and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), the local utility.

"Utilities forecast that this part of Southern California 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 Regional 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 population of over 3 million living in 18 different communities, the San Diego area 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 utility 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 Ventura County Air Quality Management District, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments - 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.

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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.