Bolstering its reputation as an energy trendsetter and, at the same time, putting a positive spin on the narrative of one of the darkest chapters in its history, the Golden State has announced a major investment in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. The money will come from the settlement of a claim that stems from the power crisis of 2001.
In March, California Gov. Jerry Brown announced a $120 million settlement with NRG Energy Inc. The settlement resolves 10-year old claims against a subsidiary of Dynergy Inc., which was then a co-owner with NRG of a portfolio of power-generating plants. NRG now owns the plants, and it assumed responsibility for the claims when it acquired the assets in 2006. The dispute concerns long-term power contracts the state signed in March 2001. Power contracts and the prices the state was forced to pay for electricity on the volatile spot market were the primary causes of the crisis.
From the settlement, $100 million will fund a statewide network of charging stations for zero-emission EVs. The network will include at least 200 public fast-charging stations and another 10,000 plug-in units and electrical upgrades at 1,000 locations across the state at no cost to taxpayers. The remaining $20 million will be directed to ratepayer relief.
The network will be installed in population centers including the San Francisco Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley, the Los Angeles Basin and San Diego County.
Perhaps buoyed by the settlement and the prospects for EV use in the state, Brown also announced that he had signed an executive order with ambitious targets for EV readiness. It calls for all major cities in California to have adequate infrastructure for EV charging by 2015. By 2020, the state will have established the infrastructure to support 1 million EVs. By 2025, there will be 1.5 million EVs on California’s roads. Finally, by 2050, virtually all personal transportation in California will be based on EVs.