Improving Our Understanding of Transport Electrification Benefits for Disadvantaged Communities

California Senate Bill (SB) 350, the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act (Chapter 547, Statutes of 2015), established new 2030 and beyond clean air and greenhouse gas reduction goals. Among other things, SB 350 requires the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to direct the utilities to undertake transportation electrification activities. The CPUC established that eligible transportation electrification (TE) projects had to fit with utility core competencies, address multiple goals of widespread TE, align with local, regional, and state policies, promote driver/worker safety, leverage non-utility funding and consider utility incentives or other regulatory mechanisms to promote adoption. The three major investor-owned utilities (IOUs) responded with applications for pilot programs in three broad categories—fast charging infrastructure, medium/heavy duty fleet infrastructure, and residential charging—with PG&E’s application generally considered the best of the three IOU applications.

This project focuses on assessing the disadvantaged community (DAC) benefits that accrue from implementation of the medium- and heavy-duty program (i.e., PG&E’s FleetReady Program) and from the EV charging program in the California Central Valley DACs, where targeting and affordability is likely to be of lower priority to PG&E. If California is to meet its greenhouse gas goals, first, transportation electrification is critical, and second, only by paying attention to the implementation of TE will existing inequalities not be exacerbated. This research will improve long-term sustainability by identifying how and why (or why not) TE projects align with regional and local transportation goals. The research will result in a deep dive case study that can serve as a template for evaluating future TE expenditures with respect to identifying and quantifying DAC benefits. This research will improve the implementation and evaluation of the SB 350 program as directed by the CPUC and intended by the legislature. The researchers are specifically interested in ensuring that disadvantaged communities equitably benefit from the implementation of programs.

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