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3,000 Charging Stations For Electric Trucks And Buses Coming To San Diego

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The electric station program is part of the state’s Climate Action Plan mandate. It’s also hoped that electrifying transport trucks will improve the chronically polluted air in the neighborhoods near the Port of San Diego, including Barrio Logan, Logan Heights and Sherman Heights.

Speaker 1: 00:00 State regulators have just approved a program that will bring 3000 electric charging stations to San Diego for trucks and buses. San Diego gas and electric will spend more than $107 million over the next five years. On the effort. The utility says the cost will be shouldered by rate. Payers will see a small increase in their monthly bills. The Electric Station program as part of the state's climate action plan mandate. It's also hope that electrifying transport trucks will improve the chronically polluted air in the neighborhoods near the port of San Diego, including Barrio Logan, Logan heights, and Sherman Heights. Joining me is San Diego Union Tribune, energy reporter, Rob Nickel, Leschi and rob, welcome back. Thank you back. Are there currently charging stations for electric medium duty and heavy duty trucks in San Diego?

Speaker 2: 00:48 It's hard to say because most of these heavy duty trucks are commercial trucks and that means if they are being charged through through an electric charging station, that means they're normally in private hands. You know, a private company like Rob's refrigerated truck delivery service and so those kind of, those numbers are hard to come by, but generally speaking there aren't very many electric medium duty and heavy duty trucks out there.

Speaker 1: 01:15 So not only are there probably few charging stations, there aren't even many electric big rigs on the road right now. Yeah, exactly. SDG and e got approval for this in an effort to comply with state law. What does that law mandate?

Speaker 2: 01:30 That's set bill three 50 back from 2015 it basically retries to have the state reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the entire state. So the Senate approved that legislature approved it, governor Jerry Brown, then governor Jerry Brown signed it. Then the California public utilities commission was then charged with coming up with a way to implement the program and then they went to the investor owned utilities including San Diego gas and electric and said, come up with some programs to reduce these greenhouse gas emissions. San Diego gas and electric has come up with a, about three years ago they came up with a, a program called a power year drive and that was to build charging stations almost all for passenger cars. This is the first one that really tries to tackle heavy duty and medium duty trucks

Speaker 1: 02:25 being an impact, good replacing gas and diesel trucks and buses with electric trucks and buses have on greenhouse gas emissions.

Speaker 2: 02:33 Well they say that the a amount of commercial vehicles and there's about 3000 in the San Diego area, the heavy duty and medium duty vehicles that they contribute a great deal to the ozone problems and also to the greenhouse gas emissions problems in San Diego County. And this is the first step towards trying to curb that.

Speaker 1: 02:57 As you mentioned, uh, more electric trucks

Speaker 2: 03:00 should also help with air pollution because the neighborhoods around the port especially been suffering with pollutants for years, haven't they? Yes. And this particular program, which is still a named, the San Diego gas and electric medium duty and heavy duty truck, uh, uh, electric electrification program. One of the things that it's trying to emphasize is that when they put in these charging stations, eventually, um, the 3000 charging stations that a good portion of those are put in those areas that have been adversely affected by air pollution. Places like Barrio Logan, like you mentioned now the utility is passing on the costs to rate payers. How much will it cost? The average residential customer, they're going to end up paying $4 and 57 cents a year. That works out to 38 38 cents a month. It depends on how you look at it. You know, some people might say, well, I'm paying $5 almost $5 more per year.

Speaker 2: 03:59 That's, and I don't drive an electric vehicle. So, and, and I've received, since we've written this story, I've received some comments and people saying that, but on the other hand, other people come back and say, well, 38 cents a month isn't that much. Now the program will include electric school buses. Tell us about that. Yes. And that's, there's a pilot program included in that in which the big batteries that are required for heavy duty or a medium duty truck, like a school bus that they will, um, charge during the time of the day when there's lots of solar on the system for example. In fact, there's so much solar sometimes at the state power grid ends up giving it away. So this program, this pilot program with the school buses would charge, would make an effort to charge the school buses during the day when there's plenty of, uh, of energy out there.

Speaker 2: 04:53 And then later in the day when solar drops off because the sun sets and then they could send that back to the grid. So there's plan there to try to do that. And that could, that could lead to some revenue for the school district because they could sell that energy back to the grid when the grid needs it, you set a percentage of the charging stations will be going in the neighborhoods around the port. Where else are these electric charging stations? Gonna turn out STG needs still has to figure that out. And there'll be going in over the next five years. Yes. The program starts in 2022 and I've been speaking with the San Diego Union Tribune Energy Reporter, Rob Nikolsky. Rob, thank you so much. Thank you. It's good to see you again.

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KPBS Midday Edition Segments

Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon host KPBS Midday Edition, a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.