Thanks to the mis-steps some ten years ago of Dynegy Inc., California will soon be on the way to a network of at least 200 DC fast chargers running from the Bay Area down to San Diego.
As an artifact of the Enron debacle, Dynegy settled ten years ago with the state of California due to their involvement. NRG Energy, parent of eVgo, acquired assets from Dynegy in 2006 and is responsible for the settlement. The settlement, in the amount of $120 million, will go a long way toward creating a viable fast charge infrastructure in at least half of the state of California.
$100 million of the settlement will go toward installing at least 200 DC fast chargers over a four year period and retrofitting 10,000 plus parking spaces in multi-family buildings, large work sites and public sites to accept electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). Another $20 million will go directly to the California Public Utility Commission. With any luck, some of that may actually find its way into the EV arena. Areas covered by the agreement include the San Francisco Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley, Los Angeles basin, and San Diego County. Associated aspects of this infrastructure development are also included in the proposal.
We are cautiously optimistic that this infrastructure development will actually take place this time. We say this time, as anyone following the lack of development on the part of the EV Project can attest, “there’s a whole lotta nothin’ goin’ on” so far in that program. The reason for our optimism is that the direct involvement of the State of California in this process should improve the ability to gain approval, permits, etc as these projects move forward. We are particularly pleased to see the focus being the development of a fast charge network, as opposed to the installation of the much less useful 240-volt Level 2 chargers. Level 2 is great for plugging in over night at home. For electric vehicles (EVs) to catch on in any meaningful way, a large and convenient fast charge network is required. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.