CEC Cuts Alternative-Fuel Vehicle Funding

By Published On: June 25, 2010

The California Energy Commission voted to nearly halve its $100 million pact with another state agency to develop and manage financing programs for alternative- and renewable-fueled vehicle transportation. The contract with the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority was originally approved by the commission on April 7. Under the action approved June 23, the funding was cut from $100 million to $51 million. The authority, which is overseen by the state treasurer’s office, has undergone “significant changes,” rendering the original contract “less useful than was originally conceived,” said commission program manager Larry Rillera. The financing authority was overhauled and expanded, he explained. As a result, the two agencies agreed to scale back the scope of the financing programs so the authority can focus on it’s new responsibilities. Specifically, the funding authority was changed by legislation. Under SB 71 signed in March, the financing agency was authorized to give eligible projects financial assistance tax breaks on property used to design and/or manufacture advanced transportation technologies or alternative energy source products. Also during this week’s meeting, the commission approved about $13 million in contracts to be funded by the commission’s Public Interest Energy Research program. The largest award was $6.7 million to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Demand Research Center. It is working to develop ways that different end users can manage electric loads automatically and help coordinate the regulatory adjustments necessary to achieve the benefits of demand response. Another $3.4 million contract went to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory which, it says, aims to establish new commercial building ventilation standards that balance energy efficiency objectives “with the need to maintain acceptable indoor air quality.”

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