California to eliminate emissions

SunLine-Bus in Palm Desert, California.
SunLine-Bus in Palm Desert, California, © CHBC

California continues to move the needle in adopting more and more ambitious climate, energy and transportation goals, to improve air quality and reduce health impacts from emissions, and to develop a strong clean energy economy in the state that creates sustainable jobs.

One major development in this regard is the adoption of the Innovative Clean Transit (ICT) Regulation in December 2018. The ICT will seek to eliminate emissions from transit buses by mandating California transit agencies to purchase zero emission buses (ZEBs) in ever increasing numbers, with 100 percent zero emission bus procurement by 2029, only 10 years from today, and completely zero emission by 2040!

To be compliant with the ICT Regulation, transit agencies will develop ZEB Rollout Plans, which are due on June 30, 2020 for large transit agencies (100 or more buses) and June 30, 2023 for small transit agencies (fewer than 100 buses). Once ZEB Rollout Plans are approved, annual ZEB procurements for large agencies will require 25 percent by 2023, 50 percent by 2026, and 100 percent by 2029. Small transit agencies will need to procure 25 percent by 2026 and 100 percent by 2029.

California Air Resources Board (ARB) Chair Mary D. Nichols stated “a zero-emission public bus fleet means cleaner air for all of us. It dramatically reduces tailpipe pollution from buses in low-income communities and provides multiple benefits especially for transit-dependent riders”. Tony Brasil, chief of the ARB transportation and clean technology branch added “regulations are required to provide that certainty for the market, provide market signal, long-term goals, and get the investments made to meet the goals”.

The regulation gives transit agencies a deferral option to request an extension or exemption from the ZEB purchase requirements if conditions outside of the agencies control restrict their ability to comply. Industry insiders have stated that the high costs of ZEBs and infrastructure are one such condition.

read more in H2-international October 2019

Peter Thompson, California Hydrogen Business Council

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