For Immediate Release: May 9, 2012
Media Contact: Alison apRoberts - 916-654-4989

MEDIA ADVISORY

Energy Commission Keeps State on Track
to Reach Green Transportation Goals

New Investment Plan Update Refines Focus on Transforming California's Vehicles and Fuels


SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission today unanimously adopted a 2012-2013 Investment Plan Update to increase the 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 Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (AB 118 program).

"Supporting the development of alternative fuels and new vehicles is the smartest way to diversify California's transportation options," said Energy Commissioner Carla Peterman. "This investment plan provides a foundation for change and spurs other investment to increase these options that substantially displace petroleum, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve our air quality and create jobs."

Funding priorities through the AB118 program support fuel and vehicle development to help attain the state's climate change policies. These investments provide a crucial jump-start by filling the gaps by funding the differential cost of developing and deploying emerging fuels and vehicle technologies, while leveraging investment from federal agencies, research institutions, private investors, auto manufacturers and other stakeholders. The benefits include improving the environment, creating new jobs and reducing dependence on foreign oil.

Assembly Bill 118 (Núñez, Chapter 750, Statutes of 2007) created the program, which provides approximately $100 million annually to encourage the development and use of new technologies and alternative and renewable fuels, including electricity, natural gas, biomethane, propane, hydrogen, and gasoline and diesel substitutes. Funding sources include vehicle and vessel registrations, license plates, and smog abatement fees.

This new update covers the fourth year of the program and builds on the work of three previous investment plans. Since the program began, the Energy Commission has invested more than $200 million in projects. These projects, in turn, have drawn about $375.5 million in outside contributions, including more than $105 million through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.

The program's investments are paying off economically as well as environmentally, leading to the creation of roughly 1,900 short-term jobs and nearly 3,500 long-term jobs directly generated by funded projects. The investment plan update was developed with the input of the ARFVT Program Advisory Committee, stakeholders and the public.

The 2012-2013 plan update allocates $100 million to encourage investments in the following areas.

  • $20 million to help develop and produce biofuels, including gasoline and diesel substitutes, and biomethane. These include projects that use a wide variety of materials, including waste, algae and crops that can be grown on agriculturally marginal land.
  • $11 million for hydrogen cell fueling stations. Based on automaker surveys, the number of fuel-cell vehicles in California is projected to grow from about 350 in 2011 to 53,000 by 2017. To support this growth, the California Fuel Cell Partnership anticipates a need for about 45 stations in critical regions by the end of 2014, more than double the number expected to be on-line by the end of 2012.
  • $7.5 million for charging options for full-electric and plug-in electric vehicles. Thanks in part to Commission investments in 4,375 residential and public charger installations, California now has the largest network of charging infrastructure in the country for electric vehicles.
  • $3 million for other fueling infrastructure, including $1.5 million for E85 fuel (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline) and $1.5 million for natural gas.
  • $25 million for incentives for vehicles that use alternative fuels and for the development of vehicles that use advanced technology. This includes money to help pay the cost difference between conventional and alternative-fuel vehicles, including $12 million for natural gas vehicles; $2 million for propane vehicles; $5 million for light-duty plug-in electric vehicles; and $6 million for demonstration projects for medium and heavy-duty advanced vehicles technology.
  • $5 million for emerging opportunities to support innovative technologies, advanced fuels and federal cost-sharing projects, not specifically tied to any single fuel or type of technology. This broad allocation provides flexibility to respond to opportunities as they arise.
  • $20 million for manufacturing facilities, equipment and working capital. Numerous companies have spoken with the commission about their interest in expanding or relocating manufacturing facilities within California. Commission investments to date are expected to directly add roughly 1,900 jobs over the next year and 3,500 jobs during the next few years. Many of these new jobs have been driven by the Energy Commission's investments in biofuel production facilities; infrastructure facilities, such as fueling stations; and the production of batteries and electric vehicle components.
  • $2.5 million for workforce development and training agreements. Skilled workers are needed to manufacture low-emissions vehicles, produce alternative fuels, build fueling stations and otherwise support California's growing clean transportation market. So far, the commission has allocated $22.5 million to support workforce development and training, working with such entities as the Employment Development Department, the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office and the Employment Training Panel.
  • $3 million for regional alternative fuel readiness and planning. The Commission has awarded roughly $200,000 each to efforts in eight regions for the development of strategic plans for electric-vehicle charging infrastructure, including permitting, installation and inspection. Other alternative fuels, such as hydrogen and natural gas, may need planning support as well.
  • $3 million for collaborative work in existing and new centers for alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technology. These centers can help in several ways, including identifying strategic opportunities to develop and demonstrate advanced technology vehicles, to integrate technology development with workforce training, and to seek outside public and private funds.

California is working to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, decrease petroleum fuel use to 15 percent below 2003 levels by 2020, and increase the use of alternative fuels to 26 percent of all fuel consumed by 2022. 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.

Find the 2012-2013 Investment Plan Update for the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program on the Energy Commission's website at
http://www.energy.ca.gov/2011-ALT-1/documents/index.html#05092012.

More information about the Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Technology Program is available at the Energy Commission's DRIVE website at www.energy.ca.gov/drive/.

To stay up to date on developments in the program, sign up for the ListServer at www.energy.ca.gov/altfuels/.



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