Legislation passed in 2011 has made it easier for the California Energy Commission to get its next round of solicitations ready under AB 118, the statute that provides for the agency to fund energy-efficient vehicles to the tune of nearly $100 million per year.
The 2011 law (California AB 1314, by Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski) allows CEC to revise, rather than redraft in its entirety, its AB 118-mandated annual Investment Plan.
“We’d rather be running the programs effectively and efficiently,” says outgoing program chief Peter Ward.
Expect PONs Soon
The new law also allows grant recipients to spend their own matching funds on a project and count those funds toward a CEC funding match prior to receiving the award.
Under the current CEC Investment Plan, formal solicitations (or PONs, for Program Opportunity Notices) are expected in the coming weeks for CEC initiatives including propane and natural gas vehicle buy-downs, biofuels with an emphasis on biomethane-renewable natural gas, alternative fuel infrastructure, including natural gas, electricity and the liquid biofuels, and hydrogen fueling.
The agency is taking input now for its fiscal 2012-13 Plan, based on 2011-12’s, slated to be presented in draft form on January 10, and expected to be completed by mid-year – instead of late summer or fall, as under previous rules.
On the short list for future funding are natural gas-fueled hybrid vehicles, lower cost retail and fleet dispensing technology – and continued improvement in biomethane. CEC would like to see safe, lower pressure CNG tanks, too.
“Natural gas offers a low-cost opportunity to displace large volumes of petroleum fuels,” Ward said at 2011’s NGV Tech Forum in San Francisco. Due to the low cost and “a fairly robust state infrastructure,” it’s the leading alt fuel in trucking, airports and shipping ports, and metropolitan areas.
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