As California pushes to advance electric vehicles to cut greenhouse gases, an electricity crisis era settlement approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Nov. 5 is to bring 200 electric vehicle fast-charging stations to California. It also includes wiring needed for 10,000 conventional vehicle chargers. California Public Utilities Commission president Mike Peevey said the agreement is aimed at “getting more electric vehicles on the road.” The state classifies battery electric vehicles as zero emissions models. Under the settlement, NRG agreed to pay more than $100 million for electric vehicle charging infrastructure that is to bring 200 fast chargers to the state, including 110 in the Los Angeles area, 55 in the San Francisco Bay Area, 15 in the San Joaquin Valley, and 20 in San Diego County. The first stations are to be publicly available and ready for use early next year. The fast charging stations are being installed by NRG subsidiary eVgo. Electric vehicle drivers will pay for charging service at the stations. Terry O’Day, eVgo business development director, said the fast charging stations would boost “range confidence” for drivers of electric vehicles, which typically go less than 100 miles on a charge. State officials believe that more fast chargers will make it feasible for more drivers to use electric vehicles, thus cutting greenhouse gases as the grid switches from fossil fuel to renewable energy. The fast chargers, according to eVgo, can recharge a vehicle’s batteries enough to drive 50 miles in as little as 15 minutes. NRG also is to install infrastructure for 10,000 plug-in units for electric vehicles, known as “make-readies”, at 1,000 different locations, including multi-family housing buildings, workplaces, and public sites, such as schools and hospitals. Chargers later can be hooked up once the wiring is in place. About 20 percent of the installations are to be targeted to low-income neighborhoods. The settlement--originally announced on March 23--resolves 10-year-old claims against subsidiaries of Dynegy, Inc., including its power marketer and three power plant subsidiaries, then co-owned with NRG Energy, Inc. (now wholly owned by NRG), for costs of long-term power contracts signed in March 2001. Dynegy previously paid $280 million to settle claims arising out of spot market sales during the energy crisis period itself. This week’s approved settlement also calls for NRG to pay a $20 million cash refund to California electricity consumers. * * * * * The California Air Resources Board’s first carbon emissions rights auction Nov. 14 will see 23,126,110 tons of vintage 2013 allowances and 34,450,000 tons of vintage 2015 allowances offered, subject to a price floor of $10/ton, according to the agency. Utilities can purchase no more than 40 percent of the allowances offered. The Air Board plans to release the results of the auction Nov. 19. * * * * * Earlier this fall, the California Department of Parks & Recreation registered a huge carbon offset project with the Climate Action Reserve to reforest 2,530 acres in the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park in San Diego County. Under the plan, the state is planting conifers to replace trees burned in the Cedar Fire of 2003, which scorched 279,900 acres. While oak trees and brush have come back, the fire was so hot it burned up cones from pine trees--95 percent of which were burned down--so they did not reseed themselves. In 2008, the department planted 7,000 pine tree seedlings, with plans to plant more. The department would earn its first carbon offset credits from the project, if successful, in 2024, which could be purchased by power companies to satisfy state greenhouse gas control requirements.