California Energy Roadmap Targets Outlines Activities to Support Electrified Transportation; Sufficient Charging Stations to Support 1M Plug-ins by 2020

California inter-agency roadmap. Click to download pdf version.

Four California state agencies and the independent power grid operator have released a new plan and vision for California’s energy future in advance of the Air Resources Board consideration of a first-in-the-nation rule requiring that a third of California electricity come from renewable sources by 2020. Among the targets and activities identified in the roadmap is developing enough charging stations at home, work, and in public areas to accommodate one million electric and hybrid vehicles.

The joint authors of California’s Clean Energy Future are the Air Resources Board (ARB), California Energy Commission (CEC), California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) and California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO).

The document is intended to guide the next decade of coordinated strategic planning in the state, bringing cleaner sources of electricity online, and supporting reinvigorated efforts to improve energy efficiency, developing new transmission infrastructure and ensuring the stability of the electrical grid.

The document calls for an integrated approach to energy issues that have, in the past, not always been addressed in a fully coordinated fashion. In contrast, a consensus among the agencies drives the current effort in which a coordinated statewide approach is key in balancing climate change mitigation, renewable power generation and the use of advanced technologies with grid reliability and reduced costs to consumers.

A roadmap charts policy priorities, goals and milestones and an implementation plan contains the details of more than 50 newly aligned activities between the five organizations.

The plan covers issues such as job training and retraining for the new clean energy economy, and planning for new electricity generation, developing enhanced transmission and new distribution requirements. It also looks at strategic and infrastructure opportunities that will accommodate the expected influx of plug-in hybrid and all-electric cars, and investment in research and development for new technologies related to generation and distribution.

As we plan for the future, it is important to consider the nexus between transportation and electricity. Electrified transportation holds the promise of both reducing smog-forming and greenhouse gas emissions and is an important component of California’s long-term sustainability goals, including those related to reducing petroleum consumption. However as the numbers of vehicles operating on electric-drive increase, we also must ensure that the electricity system is prepared both from an operational and environmental perspective. Because of this, the Roadmap includes several activities that promote alternative fuel transportation. It will be important for the results of these activities to be reflected in demand forecasts and resource planning activities in the future.

—California Clean Energy Future Implementation Plan

Activities in the implementation plan to support plug in vehicles include:

  • Alternative Fuel-Vehicle Rulemaking;
  • Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (AB 118 provides the Energy Commission with up to $120 million per year to develop and deploy alternative and renewable fuels and advanced transportation technologies to help achieve the state’s climate change policies); and
  • Zero Emission Vehicle Regulation (earlier post).

Alternative Fuel-Vehicle Rulemaking. One goal of an earlier CPUC rulemaking is to ready the electric infrastructure for light-duty passenger battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PEVs). Decisions on the rulemaking are intended to prepare the electric infrastructure for the early market of PEVs (2010-2015). The rulemaking will lay a policy foundation to support the CCEF goal to support 1,000,000 PEVs by 2020.

According to the CPUC Policy and Planning Division 2009 white paper Light-duty vehicle electrification: Potential barriers and opportunities, “while there is much the CPUC and the electricity utilities can do to prepare for and encourage the widespread use of PEVs, market and battery technical barriers may ultimately influence the sustainability of PEV commercialization. Market and technical barriers to sustained PEV commercialization include current battery and PEV cost, the storage to energy ratio of PEV batteries, automaker PEV production capacity, PEV battery production capacity, and the volatile cost of gasoline.”

Should the market for PEVs fail to meet the CCEF goal, infrastructure investments required to support vehicle charging under consideration in the CPUC rulemaking may result in stranded infrastructure costs. Alternatively, there is a considerable cost volatility and air quality risk to reliance on petroleum as the primary source of light-duty vehicle fuel.

—California Clean Energy Future Implementation Plan

Other 2020 targets for the plan include:

  • Reductions of electricity (13,200 to 18,000 gigawatt-hours) and natural gas use (800 million therms) by 2020.
  • 5,000 megawatts of installed renewable distributed generation statewide at the right locations on the power grid to support reliability and provide economic value.
  • The development of at least one large-scale carbon capture and storage generating facility in California.
  • 1,000 MW of additional storage capacity to be brought onto the system.


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