California Legislature makes a move on hydrogen fuel

September 24, 2013 0 By Bret Williams

New legislation could boost support behind hydrogen fuel

Legislative action in California could herald major progress concerning hydrogen fuel and its use in transportation. State lawmakers have approved Assembly Bill 8, which is meant to provide more than $2 billion for the development of clean transportation incentives. The funds will be used to support several initiatives that already exist in the state as well as those that have yet to be formed. A portion of the money will also be used to bolster the state’s hydrogen fuel infrastructure, preparing California for the arrival of hydrogen-powered vehicles in the near future.

Bill aims to fund the development of infrastructure

Approximately $20 million per year will be set aside by Assembly Bill 8 for the sole purpose of building new hydrogen fuel stations and hydrogen production technologies through 2023. Within the next few years, more than 100 new hydrogen fuel stations, all open to the public, are expected to take root in California. According to the California Fuel Cell Partnership, and organization promoting hydrogen-powered transportation, 68 fuel stations are needed to effectively supply hydrogen-powered vehicles that will become available in the state in the coming years.

California Bill - Hydrogen FuelNew legislation could introduce promising financial incentives

Another piece of legislation, called Senate Bill 359, has also been making progress. The bill intends to provide some $20 million worth of rebates to those that purchase clean vehicles. These rebates are meant to offset the financial impact of clean vehicles, making them more attractive to consumers. The state is currently looking for a way to fund this initiative and may institute a $3 fee on all vehicle registrations in order to supplement the rebates.

California is home to the largest hydrogen fuel infrastructure in the US

There are currently 10 publicly accessible hydrogen fuel station in the U.S. Nine of these stations are located in California. The state is considered to have the most comprehensive hydrogen fuel infrastructure in the country, but its network of fuel stations is not yet capable of supporting hydrogen-powered vehicles effectively. Automakers plan to launch hydrogen-powered vehicles in California, and elsewhere, beginning in 2015. It is unclear whether California will be able to build enough stations to support these vehicles by that time.