SDG&E, local leaders in San Diego region launch effort to advance clean transportation

Local leaders in the San Diego area launched a regional collaborative to curb air pollution and climate change through clean transportation.

The Accelerate to Zero Emissions (A2Z) coalition consists of 13 entities, including the region’s largest cities, as well as private and nonprofit organizations. Its goal is to make it easier for local residents and businesses to transition to electric vehicles (EV), plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The coalition includes San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), the City of San Diego, the County of San Diego, the San Diego Air Pollution Control District, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), the cities of Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Escondido, Santee, as well as Cleantech San Diego, Grid Alternatives, MAAC, and the University of San Diego’s Energy Policy Initiatives Center.

“We have a long way to go to clean up the transportation sector – the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in California and in our region and a very significant source of air pollution,” Estela de Llanos, SDG&E’s vice president of energy procurement and sustainability, said. “The gaps in our fueling infrastructure for zero-emission vehicles are so large, no single entity can solve the problem on its own. Regional collaboration is critical.”

The coalition conducted an analysis that identifies barriers to widespread adoption of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV), particularly in underserved and marginalized communities. It quantified how many EV chargers and hydrogen fueling stations are needed for the region to meet its share of California’s clean transportation goal, which is 8 million zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) on the road by 2030.

The San Diego region’s share of that goal is 771,000. Currently, there are only about 69,000 ZEVs on the road, so to keep pace with the region’s targeted level of ZEV growth, the coalition determined that about 155,000 EV chargers and a few dozen hydrogen fueling stations are needed. As of 2020, there were 6,700 chargers in the region and one hydrogen fueling station.

“We can’t combat the climate crisis alone – it’s collaborative partnerships like this that will help us reach our city’s climate action goals faster and deliver crucial air quality improvements for our communities,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said. “This important commitment to transforming our transportation sector will create good local jobs and protect our quality of life for the next generation and beyond.”

Many local jurisdictions, agencies, and companies have already adopted clean transportation goals independently, including SDG&E, which has pledged to reach net zero GHG emissions by 2045. The company has a portfolio of programs to expand the regional EV charging infrastructure and has announced plans to pilot hydrogen fleet vehicles.

“Today is a momentous day for our region as we release the first electric vehicle infrastructure report for San Diego County,” SANDAG Second Vice Chair and National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis said. “Collaboration among agencies like SANDAG, the County, the City of San Diego, and SDG&E is more important than ever as we work to create a faster, fairer, and cleaner transportation system through the 2021 Regional Plan.”

Dave Kovaleski

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