SV Clean Energy Issues Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan

Sunnyvale, Calif. – Silicon – Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) has released an Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Joint Action Plan (EVI Plan), which assesses and prioritizes future EV charging needs across local communities. It outlines new SVCE programs focused on deployment of charging infrastructure needed to sustain and accelerate rapid adoption of electric vehicles.

The EVI Plan describes six new programs – two focused on building a local electric vehicle charging ‘support ecosystem’ and four focused on directly deploying infrastructure:

Silicon Valley Transportation Electrification Clearinghouse (SVTEC) Regional convenings of key EVI stakeholders focused on information sharing and attracting external funding to the SVCE community
Regional EV Leadership Recognition Recurring recognition for best practices in EV infrastructure deployment at local businesses, educational institutions and public agencies
Priority Zone Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) Competitive solicitation to fund DCFC in SVCE-designated “priority zones”, including support for nearby Multi-Unit Dwelling (MUD) properties
Multi-Unit Residential Charging Technical Assistance Technical assistance and rebates for shared Level 2 charging onsite at MUD properties
Workplace Charging Rebates Level 2 charging rebates, focused primarily on small/medium businesses and mixed-use locations
Fleet Electrification Grants Competitive solicitation for fleet electrification planning support and funding for site upgrades

“As a public agency dedicated to reducing use of fossil fuels and reinvesting in our community, we have been eager to make a significant impact towards advancing electric transportation in our communities,” says Margaret Abe-Koga, SVCE Board Chair. “With this plan we are focusing our efforts and funding to the places that need the most help with EV adoption. We look forward to realizing the impact our new investments will have in the years ahead.”

While sales of EVs in the Silicon Valley region are higher than the rest of the country, wider adoption of EVs is needed to meet local and state climate goals. The EVI Plan is the result of significant research and input from many local residents, businesses, organizations and agencies that participated in stakeholder workshops, as well as customer surveys.

SVCE recently partnered with the California Energy Commission (CEC) as part of the California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP), which works with local community partners to develop and implement regional incentive projects for charging infrastructure that supports the adoption of EVs statewide. The CEC’s proposed CALeVIP investment for Santa Clara and San Mateo counties is $33 million working through a regional partnership with Peninsula Clean Energy, San Jose Clean Energy, City of Palo Alto Utilities and Silicon Valley Power.

The SVCE Board of Directors committed to match the CEC’s CALeVIP funding of $6 million directed to the SVCE territory for a total of $12 million in CALeVIP for SVCE customers. In total, the SVCE Board of Directors has dedicated $8 million in program funds towards EV initiatives over the course of four years, which includes the CALeVIP match. Funding for EVI investment leveraging CALeVIP funding is expected to begin in spring 2020 and span two to four years.

“With the EV infrastructure plan, SVCE will be leveraging our program investments with external funds and harnessing strong regional partnerships to make access to EV charging much more prevalent for our communities,” says Girish Balachandran, SVCE CEO. “SVCE’s commitment to innovation is also an opportunity to unlock new technologies and strategies that will further increase EV adoption.”

Additionally, to complement the EVI Plan’s foundational investments, the next SVCE Innovation Onramp application cycle will prioritize piloting innovative mobility solutions that take a higher-risk, higher-reward approach. Innovation Onramp is an SVCE program that engages Silicon Valley’s ‘innovation ecosystem’ in addressing key technical, market and policy barriers to achieving deep decarbonization, locally and beyond. The program offers two stages of grant funding for proof of concept ($10,000 – $75,000) and funding for demonstrations ($50,000 – $100,000).

The full EVI Joint Action Plan is available at svcleanenergy.org/programs.

About Silicon Valley Clean Energy

Silicon Valley Clean Energy is a community-owned agency serving the majority of Santa Clara County communities, acquiring clean, carbon-free electricity on behalf of more than 270,000 residential and commercial customers. As a public agency, net revenues are returned to the community to keep rates competitive and promote clean energy programs. Member jurisdictions include Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Saratoga, Sunnyvale and unincorporated Santa Clara County. SVCE is guided by a Board of Directors, which is comprised of a representative from the governing body of each member community. For more information, please visit SVCleanEnergy.org.

Media Contact:
Pamela Leonard
Communications Manager

pamela.leonard@svcleanenergy.org
(408) 721-5301 x1004

SF approves legislation requiring renewable electricity sources for commercial buildings

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved an ordinance that requires commercial buildings over 50,000 square feet to begin relying on electricity generated from renewable sources.

The legislation, introduced by Mayor London Breed, was passed by unanimous vote and amends existing environment code for all non-residential buildings. The ordinance requires the city’s largest buildings, more than 500,000 square feet, to rely fully on renewable electricity by 2022. In 2024, buildings larger than 50,000 square feet will have to start converting to renewable electricity. The goal is to have all those buildings using renewable electricity by 2030.

The ordinance comes after Berkeley became the first city in the nation in July to ban the installation of natural gas lines in new homes. But San Francisco’s measure is different, focusing on existing and new commercial buildings and not banning gas. Breed’s office called it the first such ordinance of its kind in the country. If the mayor signs it, as expected, it will go into effect in 30 days.

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San Francisco Offers $2.5B to Take Over Its Share of PG&E’s Grid

San Francisco has made a $2.5 billion offer to buy Pacific Gas & Electric’s grid assets within its city limits, the most concrete step yet from cities, counties and public agencies served by the bankrupt Northern California utility to lay claim to their portions of its power grid.

Friday’s offer came in a letter from Mayor London Breed and City Attorney Dennis Herrera to PG&E. But it began taking shape in February, a month after PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, when city officials began exploring options to take over power distribution from PG&E.

San Francisco’s bid for PG&E’s assets, while coming amidst PG&E’s bankruptcy, is rooted in a years-long dispute with the utility. City officials have long complained that PG&E has overcharged it for grid upgrades, and last year claimed that PG&E’s intransigence has delayed more than 16 major construction projects, ranging from affordable housing to public safety facilities.

“There has been a lack of investment in infrastructure over the course of the last decade by PG&E,” Herrera told KQED. “And that is, and was, motivated  primarily by pursuit of profit. That’s not something that San Francisco is going to be pursuing. We’re not interested in profit.”

Instead, San Francisco, which has unsuccessfully sought to create its own utility in the past, sees the opportunity to deliver safer, cheaper and cleaner electricity than PG&E, he said. Owning and managing its own grid could bring its infrastructure efforts closer in line with these plans.

San Francisco is also seeking to expand the reach of CleanPowerSF, the community choice aggregation (CCA) serving the city’s customers. The CCA increased its share of customers to more than 375,000 business and residential accounts as of July, up from fewer than 82,000 customers as of July 2018.

While SF seeks grid takeover, CCAs seek ‘wires-only’ PG&E

But its offer to buy PG&E’s grid assets stands somewhat in contrast to the way that other CCAs serving PG&E customers have approached the opportunity provided by the utility’s bankruptcy, its second in as many decades.

That’s because the California Community Choice Association (CalCCA) has asked state regulators to consider another option for PG&E’s future — transforming it to a “wires-only” distribution grid operator, and allowing CCAs to take over the role of generating and procuring electricity.

CalCCA represents CleanPowerSF, as well as Marin Clean Energy, Sonoma Clean Power, Monterey Bay Community Power, Peninsula Clean Energy, Silicon Valley Clean Energy, and East Bay Community Energy. These seven CCAs have collectively taken over energy procurement for nearly half of PG&E’s 5.4 million electricity customer accounts, leaving PG&E with the responsibility to upgrade and maintain the power grid that serves them, and maintain the revenues to carry out that task.

San Francisco isn’t the only public entity to offer cash in exchange for its portion of PG&E’s grid. South San Joaquin Irrigation District in California’s Central Valley last week submitted a $116 million bid for assets in its own territory — a bid that PG&E described as significantly below the assets’ actual value, Bloomberg reported.

San Francisco’s bid was received coolly by PG&E, which noted in a statement that it has been “part of San Francisco since the company’s founding more than a century ago,” and doesn’t “believe municipalization is in the best interests of our customers and stakeholders.”

Any deal would need approval from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and the California Public Utilities Commission to move ahead.

PG&E is also expected to file its official plan for emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday. The utility filed for bankruptcy in January in the face of tens of billions of dollars in wildfire liabilities, and has faced alternative plans from multiple parties, ranging from large creditors to wildfire victims groups.

Michael Wara, one of the members of a California Gov. Gavin Newsom-appointed task force that advised on the state’s $21 billion utility wildfire fund legislation this summer, told KQED that San Francisco buying PG&E’s wires might end up passing wildfire-related grid upgrade costs on to other PG&E customers.

That’s because San Francisco’s grid serves a large portion of PG&E’s customers, but requires almost none of the wildfire-related upgrades that PG&E is facing for the hundreds of miles of transmission and distribution lines crossing the more rural and remote areas at highest risk of wildfires.

 

San Francisco Offers $2.5B to Take Over Its Share of PG&E’s Grid, by Jeff St. John, Greentech Media, September 9, 2019.

San Francisco makes $2.5 billion offer for PG&E electric system

San Francisco is willing to pay $2.5 billion to buy Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power lines and other related infrastructure serving the city.

Mayor London Breed and City Attorney Dennis Herrera included that price in a Friday letter to PG&E, reviewed by The Chronicle, which outlines the city’s offer for the embattled utility’s electric assets. San Francisco officials have been closely considering such a purchase since PG&E decided to file for bankruptcy protection in January, and the offer letter is their most significant step to date.

If the transaction goes through, it would be a turning point for PG&E, which would lose hundreds of thousands of electric customers in its hometown, where the company’s roots stretch back more than 150 years. The deal would also form California’s third-largest government-owned electric utility, after the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

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Another California City Commits to Banning Natural Gas in New Construction

Berkeley made history in July 2019, becoming the first US city to ban natural gas from new buildings starting in 2020. Menlo Park, California, is now following in its footsteps. The Menlo Park city council decided to ban natural gas in all new commercial, industrial, and high rise apartment buildings within the same timeline (starting in January 2020). The decision is expected to be officially adopted on September 10. Many other cities in the state are considering a similar ban.

Why Ban Natural Gas?

For years, natural gas has been considered a cleaner alternative to coal. However, as renewable generation capacity grows around the world, natural gas is no longer the most appealing option in many regions, from an environmental standpoint. Vancouver, British Columbia, banned natural gas in new construction in 2017. Amsterdam has plans to phase out natural gas by 2050, all with the backdrop of generation from renewable energy sources in mind.

Phasing out natural gas is crucial for meeting climate change targets, especially as they pertain to building decarbonization. Buildings are estimated to generate 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions and constitute 36% of global energy use. Nearly two-thirds of global energy consumption from buildings comes from fossil fuels, including natural gas. In the US, natural gas constitutes 19% of total energy consumption from commercial buildings and 24% of total energy consumption from residential buildings. Phasing out natural gas is a key eventual step to decarbonizing buildings.

Costs and Benefits for Occupants

One of the main concerns around building electrification and removal of natural gas supply is increasing cost for building occupants associated with higher prices of electricity versus natural gas. Natural gas is key for affordability, especially for households that are affected by energy poverty and cannot afford to pay their energy bill. The costs of switching to electricity are especially high for building retrofits, where gas HVAC and water heating equipment must be switched to electric alternatives.

The new California bans apply only to new construction, where concerns about costs are somewhat abated in comparison to removing gas from existing buildings. According to a recent study, all-electric neighborhoods can save developers and occupants money by eliminating the cost of gas mains, services, and meters. Electric-only new construction buildings are also more cost-effective for the occupant than natural gas alternatives when heat pumps are installed.

Energy Efficient HVAC Is Key for Implementation

Questions of affordability must be front and center during implementation. The effect on occupants can be low if new construction uses highly energy efficient HVAC and water heating technology to save occupants money on energy costs. However, developers are not the ones benefiting from a reduction in the energy bill. As a result, they are inclined to install the cheapest equipment possible that meets minimal energy efficiency requirements. Implementation plans must create frameworks to reduce this split incentive problem and spread the cost of electrification among different stakeholders.

 

Another California City Commits to Banning Natural Gas in New Construction, by Navigant Research, Forbes, September 3, 2019.

PG&E Free: Revolutionary Energy at Stone Edge Farm in Sonoma, California

Pacific Gas & Electric has never had many loyal friends, not since 1905 when the San Francisco Gas and Electric Company and the California Gas and Electric Corporation merged to form the utility giant usually referred to as PG&E.

The company has been increasingly unpopular ever since gas leaks led to a big explosion and the death of consumers— eight people in San Bruno just south of San Francisco. Nor has the company made new friends ever since its power lines were found to have caused wild fires and huge property losses in California.

Earlier this year—to protect its profits and stockholders— the company filed for bankruptcy, though it still has citizens in a chokehold otherwise known as a monopoly. If consumers want electricity and gas in their homes and businesses they have little choice but to rely on PG&E, which owns and controls the power lines.

There are alternatives, including Sonoma Clean Power that sources clean energy from renewables: geothermal, water, wind, solar, and biomass. But Sonoma Clean Power doesn’t have its own power lines. PG&E has said it will cut off all power if and when there’s wild fire and high winds.  That could save lives and protect property, but it also sounds like PG&E letting Californians know that it’s still the all-powerful boss.

With big bucks, access to the latest technology and technological wizards, citizens can by-pass PG&E. That’s what Mac and Leslie McQuown have done at Stone Edge Farm, a model of organic agriculture and a center for innovation in the field of energy. The farm is on Carriger Road, outside the town of Sonoma, where olives and grapes are grown. Not long ago, the visionary McQuowns had a big dream: reduce their carbon footprint. They’ve realized that dream and gone beyond it.

Now, Stone Edge generates electrical power on a micro-grid that serves all its energy needs. What the McQuowns and their team have done suggests that real innovation takes place in the private sector, without government funding or oversight.

“The bourgeoisie,” Karl Marx wrote in The Communist Manifesto (1848), “has played a most revolutionary role.” It still does. The micro-grid at Stone Edge Farm has created local and global buzz.

During the Sonoma County firestorms of October 2017, when some homeowners were without electricity and felt powerless, too, Stone Edge Farm, which was evacuated, went into “island” mode. For ten days, it operated on its own micro-grid, independent of PG&E. The system was monitored and controlled remotely.

Mac McQuown, who has an MBA from Harvard, was formerly an investment director at Wells Fargo where he made extensive use of data analysis and created equity index funds. Though he’s clearly a success story, Mac, as friends call him, understands the importance of failure, which he calls “the crucible of success.” He adds, “You must fail to learn.” Stone Edge’s success has come in part as a result of Mac’s mantra, though it has also helped to have lots of capital to invest, and be willing to gamble.

This morning when it’s 100 in the shade, Ryan Stoltenberg— the program manager for Wooster Engineering, the prime contractor for Stone Edge’s micro-grid system—uses a PowerPoint presentation to offer a crash course on the complex electrical system on the McQuown’s 16-acre parcel. Behind stonewalls there are elegant buildings, lush gardens, vineyards and orchards and the all-essential wells that pump water from underground and make everything else possible. Electricity + water = an oasis with trees, bees, insects, birds and happy people.

If PG&E lines were to go down today, Stone Edge could continue to function quite nicely on clean energy that creates fuel for the farm’s zero-emission vehicles and electricity for the house where the McQuowns live the good life. No wonder that Stoltenberg tells me, “This is the most complex micro-grid system in the U.S.” He adds, “We’re better positioned than anyone else that I know of in case of an emergency.”

The Stone Edge website calls the system “an independent paradise that can store energy indefinitely, access it instantly and export it to the grid.” In fact, it’s a paradise created with capital and labor. In January 2018, the farm received the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA) in recognition for its “advanced technology to generate, store and distribute clean energy to its property and beyond.”

Stoltenberg studied Environmental Science and Engineering at Chico State University where he learned about watts, amps, ohms and more. His advanced education didn’t really begin until he arrived at Stone Edge 5 & ½ years ago. “What we have here is way beyond Electrical Engineering 101,” he says. When Stoltenberg started to work at Stone Edge, he was employed as an electrical technician for Wooster Energy, a company founded and owned and operated by Craig Wooster until his death in October 2017, after a career devoted to building sustainable energy systems.

“The micro-grid system we have now is not how we pictured it when we started,” Stoltenberg says. “When we began, we had an idea, but not a full system design. We built out modularly. As a result, the system we have is more complex than originally planned.”

Trenches had to be dug in hard ground; a vast infrastructure had to be created, including the arduous task of laying a trunk line made of copper. “Irrigation lines are everywhere underground,” Stoltenberg tells me. “They made it challenging to dig trenches.” There’s nothing like hard labor to get a job done.

Today, five years after the project began the Stone Edge micro-grid has eight solar arrays, a gas micro-turbine, battery and hydrogen energy storage and a micro-grid “controller” developed by the Heila Company. The controller might be described as a “translator” that blends and unifies the different “languages” that the individual energy sources “speak.”

When school kids come to Stone Edge to learn about the micro-grid, Stoltenberg uses examples and metaphors they grasp. “I think of the micro-grid as a pool,” he tells students. “Solar arrays are hoses feeding into the pool. Loads are drains drawing from the pool. The batteries we have are like sponges that store and provide energy. The goal is to balance generation, storage and usage so you don’t overflow or go dry.”

Stoltenberg can monitor the whole system and each separate component. “It’s agile and decentralized,” he says.

One of the incentives for producing hydrogen from the surplus solar energy in the micro-grid is a recent program initiated by the California State legislature that says that for every kilogram of hydrogen produced, the state offers a credit of $2.17.

The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program, as it’s called, is administered through the California Air Resources Board (CARB). A website describes LCFS as “a fuel-neutral, market based program” that aims to reduce greenhouse gases from transportation fuels in California.

Stoltenberg says that, “The hydrogen component of the the micro-grid is crucial because it provides for long-term energy storage. It can be generated from renewables, like solar, when they’re available, and brought back to electricity, instantly, via a fuel cell when renewable resources are unavailable.”

Hydrogen has the potential to play a huge role in the future, Stoltenberg argues, as electrical and transportation industries are de-carbonized.

Will private citizens and businesses follow the trail that Mac McQuown, Craig Wooster, Ryan Stoltenberg and the team have blazed at Stone Edge?  The short answer is yes. “What we have here is a demonstration project,” Stoltenberg tells me. Stone Edge has worked with Électricité de France (EDF), a utility giant based in Paris, and funded by the French government. (EDF is one of the world’s largest producers of energy.)

Stoltenberg adds that “Representatives from PG&E have also come to look and see. PG&E is not the enemy. We want to work with them and help them understand that micro-grids can be integrated into their existing system and play a beneficial role.”

The Stone Edge micro-grid hasn’t been duplicated anywhere. Nothing like it is on the shelf and ready for purchase, but Stoltenberg says it’s coming in the not-too distant future. The threat of disaster— whether from fire, drought, flood or earthquake—and the desire to reduce the global carbon footprint, and have zero emissions, will drive the new technology.

“At Stone Edge, we’re on the cutting edge of the energy future,” Stoltenberg says. “People who come here today can see what tomorrow will bring.” Indeed, visitors are impressed with Stone Edge’s fail-safe system that guarantees a constant supply of power. In a world threatened by energy shortages, the Stone Edge system, Stoltenberg says, “is a model for grid-wide modernization that could provide resilience and reliability for all.” Currently, it’s a luxury few can enjoy. Meanwhile, it’s reassuring to know it’s possible to live PG&E free.

 

PG&E Free: Revolutionary Energy at Stone Edge Farm in Sonoma, California, by Jonah Raskin, CounterPunch, August 29, 2019.

New $7 million initiative aims to more than double EV charging stations in Sonoma, Mendocino counties by 2024

Motorists could see the network of electric vehicle charge stations in Sonoma and Mendocino counties more than double in size, fueled by the infusion of $5 million in state funds over the next three years to help meet California’s electric fleet goals.

The current number of universal, publicly accessible charging stations available across the roughly 5,000 square miles of land is about 460. It could grow to almost 1,100 chargers by 2024 with a new rebate incentive program from the California Energy Commission that will launch next fall in partnership with Sonoma Clean Power and four local air districts.

The combined initiative was one of three selected for the funding, appropriated by the Legislature from vehicle registration and plate fees. Sonoma Clean Power is set to contribute $1.5 million and the northern Sonoma County air district will also kick in $150,000 in matching dollars to bring the project total to nearly $7 million.

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San Francisco Ranked Fifth in State for Clean Energy Jobs

recent report has revealed that clean energy jobs in California have outpaced jobs in the fossil fuel industry at a rate of five to one, and San Francisco has ranked as one of the top counties in the state for clean energy careers.

Jobs in the renewable energy field vary from work in solar and wind, to electric vehicle manufacturing, to creating more battery storage projects. California also leads the country in solar careers, with four in 10 solar jobs occurring in the state, and trails behind only Michigan in clean vehicle jobs.

Across California, a shift toward cleaner energy generation, in part ignited by the signing of Senate Bill 100 (SB100) that requires 100 percent of all electricity delivered to Californians to be derived from renewable energy sources by 2045, has become a rapidly growing industry with more than 500,000 jobs in 2018. The growth in this sector and efforts made on behalf of the state and its utilities have resulted in 34 percent of the state’s electricity being derived from renewable resources in the last year, according to the California Energy Commission.

With renewable energy generating half a million jobs and a third of the state’s electricity, California is leading the charge toward a future powered by cleaner energy. When the sun is out and the wind is blowing, our state’s electrical grid is increasingly powered by cleaner, renewable sources of energy and the trend to produce more electricity from renewable resources must continue. Our collective efforts in using and supporting cleaner energy are proving advantageous economically while also helping to reduce our impact on the environment.

Help continue to boost local economies, support innovation, and protect the environment by thinking about not only how but when you use energy to power your daily life. Learn more about accessing cleaner energy to keep California golden at www.energyupgradeca.org.

 

San Francisco Ranked Fifth in State for Clean Energy Jobs, By Energy Upgrade California, The Patch, August 22, 2019.

Community Choice Energy Factfinding Tour

Fresno Policymakers Visit Operational Agencies

On August 7 and 8, three representatives from the Fresno City Council traveled to Alameda and Sonoma counties for a tour of the operational Community Choice agencies (CCAs) in those counties, East Bay Community Energy, and Sonoma Clean Power.

Representatives included Luis Chavez, President of the Fresno City Council, Dolores Barajas, Chief of Staff to Councilmember Miguel Arias, and Aida Macedo, Chief of Staff to Councilmember Nelson Esparza.

The tour included visits with governing board members and staff, visits to commercial customers of the CCAs, and a visit to a solar array that is part of the power mix of Sonoma Clean Power. Ah, and once in Sonoma County, a bit of wine tasting at the vineyard of a happy CCA customer.

Visiting East Bay Community Energy. From L-to-R: Jessie Denver, Luis Chavez, Annie Henderson, Alex DiGiorgio, Nick Chaset, Taj Ait-Laoussine, Deidre Sanders, Aida Macedo, Dolores Barajas

“Meeting with the Governing Board members and staff in their own offices to hear directly from them about what it takes to run a Community Choice agency and about the programs they offer their communities, really helped me gain a better understanding of how a CCA might be good for Fresno,” stated Fresno Council President Luis Chavez. He added, “I also discovered a great tiramisu at an Italian restaurant in Santa Rosa!”

Earlier this year, the Fresno City Council held a workshop on Community Choice Energy which led more recently to the City allocating funds to secure a Community Choice technical study. The purpose of the tour was to allow the councilmembers to gain a fuller understanding of what Community Choice Aggregation is all about by actually walking into their offices and meeting with their leadership and staff.

“Thank you for organizing such a great and informative trip for us. I enjoyed meeting all of you and look forward to our partnership,” stated Aida Macedo of Councilmember Esparza’s office. She added that “the tour really opened my eyes to the intentional and important work that Community Choice Energy agencies are doing for communities, government, and the environment.”

Tour organizers felt it was a success and may arrange another tour in the future, so if you are a local government elected official interested in learning more about Community Choice, let us know!

One final note… news, information, and resources specifically about the prospects for Community Choice Energy in the San Joaquin Valley can be found on our dedicated webpage for that info.

Sonoma and Mendocino Selected for Regional Electric Vehicle Charging Installation Incentive Project

(SANTA ROSA, CA) – The California Energy Commission is partnering with Sonoma Clean Power (SCP) and four local air districts to launch an incentive project with investments potentially reaching $6.75 million to expand publicly accessible electric vehicle charging (EV) infrastructure in Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

The incentive project, scheduled to launch in October of 2020, is an initiative of the Energy Commission’s California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP), which works with local community partners to develop and implement regional incentive projects for charging infrastructure that supports the adoption of EVs statewide.

“Following the success of our Drive EV program, in which over 1,250 electric vehicles were incentivized, we have shifted our focus to increasing the number of publicly available EV charging stations in our service territory. We are thrilled to be working with the Energy Commission on this effort that will help lead to even more local EV adoption,” said Geof Syphers, Chief Executive Officer of Sonoma Clean Power.

“The Energy Commission is excited to work with all our partners on this project to increase access to convenient charging for electric vehicles in Sonoma and Mendocino counties,” said Commissioner Patty Monahan of the Energy Commission. “By expanding the State’s charging network, CALeVIP projects like this one help the State transition to zero-emission transportation, provide cleaner air, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Sonoma Coast Regional Incentive Project will be implemented by the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) and funded primarily by the Energy Commission’s Clean Transportation Program (also known as the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program).

The Energy Commission is proposing to provide $5.1 million towards the regional project upfront, with SCP contributing $1.5 million through CALeVIP over three years.MCAQMD and the RCPA will lend technical support and resources to the project. The NoSoCoAir will provide an additional $150,000 over three years for projects installed within its jurisdiction, and chargers installed in BAAQMD territory may be eligible to receive additional incentives through the District’s Charge! program.

“NoSoCoAir is proud to partner with state and local agencies to ensure a sustainable, green future for the residents and visitors of Sonoma and Mendocino counties,” said Rob Bamford, Executive Officer of the Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District.

“The development of EV infrastructure in our communities is a substantive step in the effort to reduce GHG and other emissions that will improve the quality of life throughout the region. This project will open the door for urban and rural communities to adopt zero-emission vehicles,” Bamford added.

Currently, there are an estimated 460 charging stations available to the public throughout Sonoma and Mendocino counties, including both fast and standard chargers. SCP and its partners in the project expect to significantly increase the number of public chargers in the region, improving the accessibility and convenience of driving an electric vehicle for residents and visitors alike.

The incentive project will provide rebates for Direct Current Fast Chargers (DCFC) and Level 2 chargers. Proposed rebates will offer up to $8,000 per connector for Level 2 chargers, and up to $80,000 per DCFC or 80% of the project’s total cost, whichever is less.

“With growing numbers of car shoppers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties choosing electric vehicles, it is increasingly important that public charging stations be established at convenient locations, along the highways, and at common destinations,” said Andy Hoskinson, CSE’s Senior Manager for EV initiatives. “Local EV sales should increase as area residents realize they can find easily accessible charging stations throughout the region.”

Interested parties, including property owners, contractors, and network providers, can learn more about plug-in EV charging and CALeVIP by visiting CALeVIP.org.

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About Sonoma Clean Power

Sonoma Clean Power is the public electricity provider for Sonoma and Mendocino counties. SCP’s services and programs are practical, affordable, and inclusive, empowering everyone to be part of the transition toward a clean energy future. To learn more, visit sonomacleanpower.org or call 1 (855) 202-2139.

 

About the California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is leading the state to a 100 percent clean energy future. It has seven core responsibilities: developing renewable energy, transforming transportation, increasing energy efficiency, investing in energy innovation, advancing state energy policy, certifying thermal power plants, and preparing for energy emergencies.

About the Center for Sustainable Energy

The Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) is a nonprofit offering clean energy program administration and technical advisory services. With the experience and streamlined efficiency of a for-profit operation, CSE leads with the passion and heart of a nonprofit. We work nationwide with energy policymakers, regulators, public agencies, businesses, and others as an expert implementation partner and trusted resource.

 

About the Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District

The Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District (NoSoCoAir) is the regulatory agency responsible for air quality in the northern Sonoma County region. Its mission is to promote and protect the health, welfare, quality of life, and the ecological resources for the residents and visitors of Northern Sonoma County through the effective reduction of air pollutants.

 

About the Mendocino County Air Quality Management District

The mission of the Mendocino County Air Quality Management District (MCAQMD) is to protect and manage air quality, an essential public resource upon which the health of the community depends.

 

About the Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority

The Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA) leads a local government coalition to mobilize regional climate action in Sonoma County. The RCPA provides a forum for local elected officials to engage in dialogue on countywide issues and enables discussions among local and regional entities on a wide range of issues related to greenhouse gas reduction, including planning, program management, and project delivery.

 

About the Bay Area Air Quality Management District

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) aims to create a healthy breathing environment for every Bay Area resident while protecting and improving public health, air quality, and the global climate. Through incentives and partnerships, the Air District aims to establish the Bay Area as a leading area for emissions reductions in mobile sources, land-use planning, innovative technology, and energy.

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