Energy Commissioners Take Part in Energy, Climate Change Symposium

Several California Energy Commissioners participated in “Pathway to 2050,” a symposium on California energy and climate change policy focused on efforts to reach the state’s ambitious, long-term goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

The Energy Commission, which supports these efforts through a variety of programs, had much to contribute to the day-long June 21 event at the Sacramento Convention Center.

The series of panels featured discussions between leaders in industry and state government, including state legislators. The event was organized by Advanced Energy Economy, an association of business leaders in renewable energy.

California Energy Commissioner Janea A. Scott participated in a panel examining challenges to the adoption of electric vehicles. She discussed the Energy Commission’s key role in meeting California’s ambitious goals for GHG emissions reduction, noting “the magnitude of the change we’re trying to make on the timeline we’re trying to make it.”

“2050 seems really far away. But it’s really not,” she said.

The Energy Commission supports the adoption of plug-in and fuel cell electric vehicles with investments by its Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, which supports advancements in alternative, renewable fuels and the vehicles powered by them.

Cumulatively, the program has invested more than $102 million in a network of conveniently-located electric vehicle charging infrastructure, which is essential to expanding statewide adoption of these vehicles. The program has also made significant investments in fueling infrastructure for fuel cell electric vehicles.

Scott said reaching the state’s climate change goals - as well as federal clean air standards - will require support for zero emission vehicle adoption in low-income, disadvantaged communities and by residents of multifamily dwellings. It will also require medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, such as fleet and public transit vehicles, to switch to zero-emissions technology.

The Energy Commission is working to address both challenges – through grants that support conversion of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, and efforts to site charging and fueling stations for ZEVs in locations that promote access for underserved communities.

Other panels during the symposium included the feasibility of an entirely clean energy grid, a discussion Energy Commissioner David Hochschild moderated.

The Energy Commission also participated in a panel on the workforce needs for an advanced energy economy. The discussion focused on training the next generation of workers and creating opportunities for those in the growing energy sector.

Martha Brook, advisor to Commissioner Andrew McAllister, discussed how data analytics factors into making informed energy efficiency decisions. Compiling and understanding this data will require experts to share findings with consumers who can adopt and encourage best practices for energy efficiencies. This will help California meet its energy goals and create a demand in the workforce.

Supporting workforce development and employment of individuals through certifications or apprenticeships is part of the Energy Commission’s Existing Buildings Energy Efficiency Action Plan, a roadmap to help improve energy efficiency in buildings.

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California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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