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Local Advocacy Becoming Increasingly Important     

State and Federal support of Electric Vehicle development is will soon require local support and participation. That process here in California is happening at a regional planning phase. The California Energy Commission (CEC) has funded eight “Regional Plans to Support Plug-In Electric Vehicle Readiness.” These planes are being developed now and should be ready by early 2013. It is not clear how many end users or actual EV advocates or adopters are participating in this development as this is being done at the regional agency level by staff and consultants.

 

These plans will be used to guide the charging infrastructure development and the allocation of resources from the state and federal funding. They will include guidelines for regional, county and city agencies for supporting EV development.

 

In September 2011, the CEC announced eight awards for EV coalitions representing the following geographic areas:

* Central Coast: Ventura, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara Counties

* Monterey Bay: Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito Counties

* San Francisco Bay Area: Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, San * Mateo, Santa Clara, Napa, and Solano Counties

* North Coast: Humboldt, Trinity, and Del Norte Counties

* South Coast: Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Imperial Counties

* San Joaquin Valley: Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Kern Counties

* Capital Area: El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba Counties

San Diego: San Diego County

 

The planning is being handled on the Central Coast through a body called a collaborative. It is made up of agency staff and it has reached out to EV users and advocates. If the same model is being used in other areas, then it would be a good idea to have experienced EV people involved. There are some really good people involved but they can really benefit from having the hands on knowledge and experience we bring to the table.

 

Rick Teebay of the LA County office of Sustainability reports that things are moving forward through SCAG with the CEC Grant for SO Cal PEV Collaborative. IN addition the AQMD has brought together the So Cal EV Group Collective. This is executing a Master Purchasing Agreement with 13 EVSE Manufacturers, which will give standard and least cost pricing for equipment. There are currently 23 Agencies, 56 Communities who have signed on to this agreement according to Rick.

 

This Collective will be targeting 315 EVSE locations on government properties and large employer sites in the next year or so. That is a lot of charging locations and a significant investment. Rick knows what he is doing and it might help if end users were organized to help him make sure the results give us the biggest bang for the buck.

 

Once these guidelines are in place they will then need to be turned into actual results in every community. They can only be used effectively within the communities IF the community has adopted them. Staff can adopt these sorts of things only if there is a political mandate to do so.

 

Cities like Santa Monica have already built that mandate into their Land Use and Circulation Plan (LUCE) which is now part of the revised General Plan. Adoption for the staff in Santa Monica would be relatively easy. A bunch of us made sure that happened with special thanks to Kevin McKeown, the late Ken Gensler, Richard Bloom, Pam O’Conner, Eileen Fogerty, Beth Rolandson, Andy Agle and Lucy Dyke.

 

Communities that are less well prepared may have to get the guidelines and their recommendations adopted through their city or county councils and through their agency boards.

 

This is where grassroots groups come into play. Local organizations, businesses and advocates will be needed to support and encourage adoption of the plans and getting them put into action.

 

Another concern about these regional plans is whether they will be practical and helpful in accomplishing EV development. The main people who know what works are the people who have been doing this work for more than a couple of years. That includes many of the people on our mailing lists and very few people working for the agencies putting these plans together. Some of the consultants helping these agencies know what they are doing but it is not clear how many.

 

An even more important part of all this is that the funds to implement these plans will be prioritized by state and federal funding sources. They would respond to efforts by an organized grass roots base to set priorities that would serve the deployment of EVs.

 

All of this points at the need to get more organized and to build the size of our EV community. There is a lot to be done and many hands make light work. It would also be good to get sponsors and patrons who can help us get this done. The more we get organized the better the results will be.

 

This article was written by Russell Sydney.

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