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CEC Plan Boosts Natural Gas Funding

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  • CEC Plan Boosts Natural Gas Funding

    Draft CEC investment plan for AB 118 program shifts emphasis to natural gas, other low-carbon fuels
    he California Energy Commission’s latest draft investment plan for the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program created by AB 118 calls for much greater funding for natural gas and other fuels classified as Low Carbon (LC) than an October draft—35 percent of the $176 million available over the next two years, versus only 1 percent in the earlier paper.
    Initially, the staff de-emphasized technologies that it believed would not be able to reach the 2050 goal of an 80 percent carbon reduction from 1990 levels. The Dec. 23 draft staff paper—a much more thorough, detailed presentation—reflects the need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions now and pave the way for next-generation fuels.
    "A funding strategy that emphasizes 2020 goals spurs commercial development of market-ready clean fuels and technology, which fulfills 2020 state mandates and maximizes reductions of GHG emissions in the earliest timeframes possible," the paper says. "This would generate additional private investment to accelerate advances in new fuels and technologies and provide time for technology to mature to achieve even greater amounts of GHG emission reductions and achieve the 2050 goals."
    Low-Carbon Fuels Have Greatest Impact The staff has grouped fuels and technologies into categories and determined the percentage of GHG emissions reductions (compared with business as usual) expected from each by 2020. Super Ultra Low Carbon (SULC) technologies, which include electric vehicles, vehicles powered by hydrogen from renewable sources, and hydrogen-CNG blends, provide 16 percent. Ultra Low Carbon (ULC) fuels, which include biomethane and other biofuels, provide 12 percent. LC fuels, including natural gas, propane, biodiesel, and renewable diesel, provide 33 percent. Fuel economy improvements will deliver 39 percent of the reductions.
    The proposed funding allocations are based on the percentage of GHG emission reductions and the gap between the funding need and availability.
    For natural gas, the paper recommends funding to:
    Provide incentives to individuals and fleets for purchasing OEM and upfitted vehicles
    Renovate, refurbish, and increase existing fleet and fueling infrastructure capacity
    Support development of advanced medium- and heavy-duty engines and fueling and fuel storage technologies
    Provide incentives to turn landfills into fuel production facilities
    Promote mixed-use hydrogen and CNG fueling infrastructure
    Coalition Voices Strong Support The Coalition voiced strong support for the new plan at a Jan. 8 public workshop and provided additional detail about the potential of biomethane—which, the Coalition noted, should be classified as an SULC fuel (defined as providing at least an 82 percent GHG reduction) based on CARB’s analysis of landfill gas.
    With a carbon intensity of only 11—compared with 67.9 for North American natural gas, 95.8 for diesel, and 96.7 for gasoline—biomethane could displace the equivalent of 29 percent of all diesel transportation fuel used in the state in the near term, the Coalition pointed out. According to the CEC and the Biomass Collaborative, landfills, wastewater treatment, and dairy waste sources developable today could yield 121 billion cubic feet of biomethane. That’s equal to 860 million diesel-gallon equivalents, and California uses about 3 billion gallons of diesel annually for transportation. Emerging gasification and methanation processes could more than double the biomethane volume.
    Opinions Divided at Workshop There was a split at the workshop between those that, like the Coalition, believe the current plan is just about right, and those that think the state should put more money put into SULC fuels now and less into LC fuels.
    "Just as we and some others had concerns that the original proposal gave much too little funding to fuels like natural gas, there are some parties, including CARB, that think this proposal gives too much emphasis to fuels that are commercially ready now and can achieve significant near-term gains," says Coalition consultant Pete Price. "They think the plan should focus on longer-term reductions. We think that’s a false dichotomy. And we’re in the fortunate position of being able to argue that our products will get us to 2020
    and 2050 goals—both conventional natural gas and biomethane can play important roles."
    Written comments on the draft paper are due Jan. 23, and the CEC staff hopes to send a final plan to the full commission for approval in February. The Dec. 23 staff paper is posted on the CEC site. ◗

    29 State Counties Have PM Problem
    The Environmental Protection Agency has designated 29 California counties nonattainment areas for the latest air quality standard for fine particle matter (PM 2.5). California is required to submit a State Implementation Plan in April 2012 detailing how it will reduce air emissions to attain compliance with the standard, which was strengthened in 2006 from 65 to 35 micrograms per cubic meter. The counties in complete nonattainment are Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Kings, Madera, Marin, Merced, Napa, Orange, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, and Santa Clara; the others are in partial nonattainment

  • #2
    Re: CEC Plan Boosts Natural Gas Funding

    Curtis, can you point me to any federal, CA or county incentives for city or school districts to convert to CNG for fleet use (vehicles, putting in a filling station, etc)? I'd like to try to get a partnership between my home city (Livermore), school district and local garbage company (uses CNG trucks) to get a shared station here. I have searched the site but am obviously brain challenged today.