Electric Vehicles

California partners with public power to expand charging infrastructure

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The California Energy Commission (CEC) is partnering with public power utilities and community choice aggregators (CCAs) in programs to install public electric vehicle charging stations in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

The CEC is proposing to provide $21 million in incentives to Santa Clara County and $12 million in incentives to San Mateo County.

The City of Palo Alto Utilities, Peninsula Clean Energy, San Jose Clean Energy, Silicon Valley Clean Energy and Silicon Valley Power are pledging to contribute millions in matching funds to this effort, pending approvals by their boards or city councils.

Palo Alto Utilities and Silicon Valley Power are California public power utilities, while Peninsula Clean Energy, San Jose Clean Energy and Silicon Valley Clean Energy are CCAs.

Peninsula Clean Energy, the community choice energy provider for San Mateo County, has pledged $12 million for the program with the aim of installing thousands of public electric charging stations over the next four years.

The project, expected to begin in spring of 2020, is an initiative of the CEC’s California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project, which works with local community partners to develop and implement regional incentive projects for charging infrastructure that supports the adoption of electric vehicles in the state. The funding will span two to four years.

The California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project’s initiatives are implemented by the Center for Sustainable Energy and funded primarily by the CEC’s Clean Transportation Program (also known as the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program), which invests up to $100 million annually in transportation and fuel transportation projects throughout California.

The Clean Transportation Program was established by AB 118, which took effect Jan. 1, 2008, and subsequently extended through Jan. 1, 2024. The program uses funds collected from vehicle and vessel registrations, vehicle identification plates, and smog abatement fees.

California has set a goal of having five million electric vehicles on its roads by 2030 to reduce carbon emissions and to support those vehicles by installing 250,000 chargers statewide, including 10,000 direct current fast chargers, by 2025.

The incentive project will help increase the number of fast chargers and Level 2 chargers in public, workplace and multi-family housing locations, as well as along highway corridors.

Fast chargers provide at least 100 miles of range per hour of charging, and some can charge a battery up to 80 percent in 30 minutes. Level 2 chargers provide 15 to 35 miles of range per hour of charging, which is sufficient for most day-to-day driving.

The American Public Power Association has initiated a new category of membership for community choice aggregation programs.