Statewide Growth

California’s biodiesel infrastructure poised for expansion
By Bryan Sims | October 25, 2011

As California goes, so goes the nation, is the old saying. It might be clichéd, but the Golden State continues to pioneer, leading the country in instituting bold, low-carbon energy policies and infrastructure build-out initiatives, and the California Energy Commission is a driving force behind those efforts.

In September, the CEC unanimously adopted the state’s third annual transportation energy investment plan to help change the types of vehicles Californians drive and the fuels they use. The latest investment plan appropriates $100 million in state funds to leverage funding and investments from federal agencies, research institutions, private investors, auto manufacturers and other stakeholders to advance the CEC’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program.

Assembly Bill 118 authorized the CEC to provide approximately $100 million annually over seven years to encourage the development of new fuels and technologies. The 2011-‘12 plan allocates funding to encourage a score of transportation investments for the development of different biofuels, such as biodiesel, including: $24 million to help develop and produce biofuels such as gasoline and diesel substitutes and renewable natural gas; and $3 million to encourage the development of innovative technologies and advanced fuels, including biodiesel derived from new high-productivity feedstocks such as algae.

Funding comes from sources such as the vehicle and vessel registrations, identification plates and smog abatement fees. The CEC’s first investment plan combined $176 million in funds from fiscal years 2008-‘09. The second investment plan, in fiscal year 2010-’11, provided $83 million.
“This innovative transportation investment program is unique in the country,” says CEC vice chairman James Boyd.

California is working to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, decrease petroleum fuel use to 15 percent below 2003 levels by 2020, and increase alternative fuel use to 20 percent by 2020.

“The funding plan for fiscal year 2011-‘12 builds on two earlier versions, fine-tuning California’s seven-year program to increase alternative and renewable fuels and to test innovative vehicle technologies,” Boyd adds. “An essential element of California’s climate change and energy policies, this program successfully attracts outside investment and promotes sustainable transportation alternatives within our state.”

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