A new public electric vehicle charging station installed in Ontario is helping to expand the fast charging network along major freeways in Southern California.
Ontario CNG Station, Inc. used a $150,000 grant from the California Energy Commission to install two electric vehicle fast chargers and a Level 2 charger at a site located off Interstate 10 near the Ontario International Airport. Fast chargers allow vehicles to fully charge in 20 to 30 minutes. The Level 2 charger allows most vehicles to go from zero to a full charge in four to eight hours.
The Ontario station is the first fueling station in Southern California to serve as a hub location for alternative transportation fuels, including biofuel and compressed natural gas (CNG). The site is also in the process of adding a hydrogen fuel dispenser using a $1.7 million grant from the Energy Commission.
Both grants come from the Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP). ARFVTP invests up to $100 million annually in projects that support the advancement of alternative and renewable fuels and advanced vehicle technologies. The program is helping to transition the state from vehicles using fossil fuels to ones that run on clean energy such as electricity.
Under the ARFVTP 2016-17 Investment Plan Update, $17 million will be invested in electric charging infrastructure. That same amount is being proposed in the proposed 2017-18 Investment Plan Update.
The Energy Commission is strategically funding and locating a network of electric vehicle charging stations like the one in Ontario to fill the void that exists in statewide electric charging infrastructure. Convenient access to electric charging stations is essential for the statewide adoption of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), especially in Southern California.
Electric plug-in cars and other ZEVs play a vital role in the state’s efforts to reach its greenhouse gas goals, improve air quality, and reduce dependence on petroleum. Transportation contributes nearly 40 percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions, which is why Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has set a goal of getting 1.5 million ZEVs on California roads by 2025.
Find out where electric vehicle charging stations are located here. Read more about the Ontario hydrogen refueling station project here.
By David Hochschild and Nancy Rader
Special to The Bee
As wind energy achieves a historic milestone – surpassing the total capacity of hydropower dams to become the nation’s largest renewable energy resource – many of California’s pioneer wind projects are in danger of shutting down.
Instead, California should promote the revival of these projects with state-of-the-art technology.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s first administration in the 1970s spawned the initial wave of utility-scale renewable energy, which launched the wind power industry globally. It is a testament to the early technology that most of the wind turbines installed in the 1980s were still in operation some 25 years later, withstanding conditions so tough that new turbine designs are often tested alongside.
Yet, these new turbines convert wind into electricity twice as efficiently as the early turbines. Modern wind turbines are also 30 times larger in size and capacity, meaning that a single new one can replace approximately 30 older ones. At the Vasco project in Altamont Pass, 432 older turbines were replaced with just 34 new ones, tripling energy generation and dramatically reducing visual impact.
In addition, considerable technological enhancements since the early 1980s have made wind energy one of the most cost-competitive sources of electricity generation today. Wind energy now supplies more than 8 percent of the state’s power supply.
Ironically, circumstances could spell the demise of many of California’s earliest wind energy projects, rather than spur their replacement with new ones.
This is an excerpt from commentary that was originally published in The Sacramento Bee on March 20, 2017. Read the full commentary here.
David Hochschild is a member of the California Energy Commission and can be contacted at David.email@example.com. Nancy Rader is executive director of the California Wind Energy Association and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The California Energy Commission will hold public workshops March 20 in Fresno and March 27 in Los Angeles to discuss future clean energy research and development funding initiatives to meet the needs of disadvantaged and low-income communities.
The workshops will allow residents in disadvantaged and low-income communities to discuss and provide feedback on clean energy research and development products, strategies and applications that can help meet their needs.
The Energy Commission is committed to increasing diversity in energy sector funding opportunities. Information gathered during the workshops will be incorporated where possible into its Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) 2018–2020 Triennial Investment Plan, which lays out its strategy for administering EPIC program funds.
The Energy Commission invests about $120 million a year through EPIC to help bring new clean energy ideas to fruition by supporting researchers developing the next generation of innovations. Some of these emerging technologies are already in use by early adopters and are being tested in homes and businesses.
Workshop attendees will receive an overview of state initiatives that support community equity, details on the Energy Commission’s diversity outreach efforts, information on community-driven energy research needs and details on how to apply for funding opportunities. A networking session will be held after the workshops to give community members and researchers an opportunity to connect.
EPIC was created by the California Public Utilities Commission in 2011and is administered by the Energy Commission. Funds come from rates charged to Pacific Gas and Electric, San Diego Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison customers.
Details for participating in the March 20 workshop or the March 27 workshop are in the public notices.
Offshore wind is a newcomer to the renewable energy discussion in California, with two agencies - the California Energy Commission and the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) working together to possibly bring the industry to the state.
Interest in the topic is growing as evidenced by the large turnout at two meetings in Sacramento last week on offshore wind. The first was the sold out 2017 California Offshore Wind Industry Symposium, which was followed by a packed March 3 meeting at the Energy Commission.
The first California task force, led by BOEM, called the Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force, convened last year. That task force saw more than 100 stakeholders start a conversation on the potential and the challenges for offshore wind along the state’s coast.
“California is currently implementing a comprehensive set of climate change policies, including 50 percent renewable energy target by 2030, and we’re interested in learning about how offshore wind could play a role in helping achieve our climate and renewable energy goals,” said Energy Commissioner Karen Douglas.
Despite the sizeable interest in offshore wind, it is in the exploratory stage in California and most of the nation.
Block Island Wind Farm, which is the first offshore wind farm project in the United States, opened last fall off the coast of Rhode Island. Massachusetts and New York are also active in offshore wind procurement.
Europe has an already evolved offshore wind industry. The first wind project was installed off the coast of Denmark in 1991. Europe now has almost 13 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity.
The relatively shallow ocean depths in Europe and along the East Coast enable offshore wind projects to be developed on large, fixed-bottom platforms. California’s deeper coastal waters demand that wind turbines be built on floating platforms. The floating platforms will require additional technological innovation.
BOEM is one of several federal agencies with jurisdiction over projects in federal waters, which extend from three miles off the coast out to 200 miles. California oversees projects within three miles of California’s coast or islands.
Eventual licensing of any wind farm projects off California’s coast will be the purview of BOEM, but would also trigger multiple state permitting requirements.
Photo 1 credit: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Photo 2 credit: National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The California Energy Commission invites the public to workshops March 13, 14 and 16 to help develop its 2018-2020 EPIC Triennial Investment Plan.
The plan is the Energy Commission’s proposed strategy for administering Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program funds. Funds come from rates charged to Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE) customers. They are used to bring new clean energy ideas to fruition by supporting researchers developing the next generation of innovations. Some of these emerging technologies are in use by early adopters and are being tested in homes and businesses.
During the March 13 workshop stakeholders and the public will have an opportunity to receive information and provide feedback on future research needs to support California’s distributed energy resources (DER) goals. The workshop will include opening comments from Energy Commission Chair Robert Weisenmiller, a California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) presentation on the DER Action Plan, discussions on the proposed DER initiatives in the investment plan and presentations on current and planned research. Details for participating in the workshop are in the public notice.
At the March 14 workshop, Energy Commission staff will present draft funding initiatives for the investment plan. The initiatives will give stakeholders a view of Energy Commission plans for the next investment plan. This workshop will also feature an opening address from Chair Weisenmiller, a CPUC overview of the EPIC program and a presentation by the investor-owned utilities. A public comment period will follow. Details for participating are in the public notice.
The March 16 workshop will include discussions on active and potential future areas of climate research for electricity systems such as increasing the resiliency of the electricity system to climate change and extreme weather events. The discussion will also evaluate strategies to mitigate the climate impacts of the electricity system on the environment and public health and safety.
Energy Commission staff will also discuss the Natural Gas Research Program climate research during the March 16 workshop. That program, which outlines proposed natural gas research, is separate from the EPIC program and provides funding for climate research that benefits natural gas ratepayers. The Natural Gas Research Budget Plan is developed annually and will be submitted to the CPUC for approval. View the public notice for details on participating in the workshop.
The EPIC program was created by the CPUC in 2011 and is primarily administered by the Energy Commission. About $120 million is invested annually to support innovative technologies and approaches that bring clean energy ideas to market and that benefit PG&E, SDG&E and SCE customers. The plan will be submitted to the CPUC for approval by May 1.
California’s goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase renewable energy garner attention from around the world, and the accomplishments of the California Energy Commission gain some of the spotlight.
The Energy Commission, which is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency, produced the 2016 California Energy Commission Accomplishments Report.
California is a global leader in combating climate change through forward-thinking policy, cutting-edge research, and the promotion of energy innovations. The report highlights the Energy Commission’s role in the state’s progress and some major achievements.
The Energy Commission is involved in a range of issues. We adopt energy efficiency standards for light bulbs and verifying renewable energy. We invest in energy research and development innovations and license thermal power plants. We are helping to transform transportation through investments in alternative fuels. We are working on ways to address barriers that low-income residents face in adopting clean energy. We are working with other agencies to identify opportunities for new transmission needed to access more renewable energy.
While the growth of photovoltaic solar systems begins to push peak demand for electricity supplied by utilities to later hours of the day, the latest energy forecast from the California Energy Commission finds future state consumption of electricity to be on a moderate course.
The findings are from the Energy Commission’s California Energy Demand Updated Forecast, 2017-2027. Resource planners, particularly at the California ISO and the California Public Utilities Commission, use the forecast to ensure that the future demand for electricity will be met by supply.
“More photovoltaic solar systems on homes are helping to meet the demand for electricity, especially in the afternoons,” said Chris Kavalec, who is one of the Demand Forecast’s primary authors. “Advances in energy efficiency also help moderate consumption growth.”
The report, which the Energy Commission approved earlier this year, describes an updated 10-year forecast for electricity in California and for major utility planning areas within the state. Forecast updates are published in even-numbered years, with a full forecast developed in odd-numbered years. The report lays out likely scenarios for electricity consumption, retail sales, and peak demand for eight major electricity planning areas.
The report found that for statewide electricity consumption, demand should be about 1 percent lower in the immediate years compared to the previous forecast because economic growth is expected to be lower than previous estimates. The economy is projected to grow at a slower rate in Northern California than Southern California. Increases in projected manufacturing and personal income are countered by slower population growth and a declining commercial employment rate. Over time, forecast consumption increases as economic growth picks up, driving more demand for electricity.
Companies interested in exhibiting their clean energy technology at the 8th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM8) in China should submit applications by March 11.
The Clean Energy Technology Exhibition is part of CEM8, which is being held from June 6 to 8 in Beijing. The annual meeting brings together energy ministers and other high-level delegates from 24 member countries and the European Union to promote policies and share best practices to accelerate the global transition to clean energy.
CEM8 will be co-located with the Second Mission Innovation Ministerial (MI-2). CEM will focus on scaling the deployment of clean energy technologies and solutions that are available today. MI-2 will concentrate on scaling research and development for the new technologies of the future.
During the exhibition, companies and organizations from around the world will be highlighting their innovative clean energy technologies, products, and business models. The exhibits will focus on six sectors: renewable energy, energy-efficient technologies and facilities, energy storage technologies and facilities, digital energy and smart grid, electric vehicles and related technologies, and finance and business model innovation.
CEM 7 was held in conjunction with the inaugural Subnational Clean Energy Ministerial (Sub-CEM) in San Francisco in June 2016.
Mayors, governors, ministers and other regional leaders from around the world involved in the fight against climate change gathered for Sub-CEM, which highlighted action from states, provinces and cities to use cleaner energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Sub-CEM was open to subnational jurisdictions that signed or endorsed the Under 2 MOU agreement, which is a global pact of subnational jurisdictions spearheaded by California and the German state of Baden-Württemberg to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius.