California Energy Commission continues to work on bolstering state hydrogen fuel infrastructure
California has been a bastion of alternative energy for several years. The state has thrown a significant amount of support behind solar energy and wind power. In recent years, however, the state has become more interested in clean transportation. Much of this interest is being influenced by the auto industry, which has been advocating and promoting hydrogen transportation aggressively over the past year. Because California is one of the most lucrative markets for the auto industry, automakers have been pushing for the development of a hydrogen fuel infrastructure, an initiative that has received strong support from the California Energy Commission.
Agency begins to overcome internal problems
Last year, California embarked on an ambitious campaign to expand its existing hydrogen fuel infrastructure. The California Energy Commission, which oversees this endeavor, helped support the development and building of new hydrogen fuel stations. These stations are meant to provided the necessary support that hydrogen-powered vehicles will need in order to be considered successful. In recent months, however, support for the hydrogen fuel infrastructure has diminished.
Agency accepting 25 new applications
The California Energy Commission has announced that it is accepting new applications for 25 hydrogen fuel stations that will be located throughout the state. The agency had put a hold on its various projects due to financial constraints. Spurred by some structural changes, the agency is now looking to pick up where it left off with the state’s hydrogen fuel infrastructure. The companies that are chosen by the agency will be reimbursed for up to 65% of the building costs of their hydrogen fuel stations. There is a catch, however, as no less than 33% of the hydrogen associated with these stations must be produced through renewable sources.
California hydrogen fuel infrastructure still lacking
Hydrogen transportation may be able to gain more traction in California as the grants from the California Energy Commission resume. These grants will be governed by new rules that have been adopted by the agency in order to avoid exploitation and accusations of favoritism. There are still concerns, however, that the endeavor from the California Energy Commission will fail, as the state has limited time to establish a comprehensive hydrogen fuel infrastructure before the commercial launch of hydrogen-powered vehicles in early 2014.