Utilities Seek AB 32 Costs Covered for Electric Transportation

By Published On: August 8, 2008

Utilities told the California Air Resources Board that a draft plan to cut greenhouse gases in part by using more electricity to run transportation can be effective, but that utilities would need to recover their costs for providing the additional power. They also face the need to control potential greenhouse gas increases in their own operations. The Air Board, wrote Michael Murray, Sempra Energy environmental policy director, recognizes that electrifying transportation can provide a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, but also shift some emissions from vehicles to the power industry. The industry then would face additional costs to control the emissions from power generation. Utilities urged the Air Board to recognize the potential for some increased emissions at power plants and the need for the industry to recoup its costs. Southern California Edison noted numerous opportunities to electrify transportation, including cars, ships docked at port, big rigs parked at truck stops, forklifts in warehouses, and trains. However, Edison said CARB’s plan for carrying out the state’s climate protection law, AB 32, falls short in seizing on this wide range of options, instead narrowly focusing just on plugging in ships and a limited role for electric cars. Edison suggested that the plan should be broadened to specify a bigger role for electric transportation and should outline a way for utilities to be “ideally compensated so as to have incentive to encourage electrification.”

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