San Diego Nonprofit Wins $5.9M Grant for Trucking Electrification


The California Energy Commission (CEC) has awarded the nonprofit organization San Diego Port Tenants Association (SDPTA) a $5.9 million grant to fund the development of 10 all-electric freight vehicles outfitted with zero-emission technologies for operation at the Port of San Diego.

According to the CEC, the grant award will be matched with $2.3 million in cash and in-kind contributions from the seven partner tenants of the SDPTA: CEMEX, Continental Maritime, Dole Food Co., Harborside Refrigerated Services and Cold Storage, Marine Group Boatworks, Pasha Group, and TerminaLift.

Together, the total project budget is $8.2 million.

The SDPTA was one of two recipients of the “Freight Transportation Projects at California Seaports” grant opportunity of the CEC under the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program for the state.

The energy commission states that the grant is intended to fund demonstration projects for medium- and heavy-duty vehicle technologies; intelligent transportation systems and technologies; and the deployment of natural gas vehicles, including industrial forklifts, cargo trucks and associated equipment. In addition, the grant will pay for community outreach to neighborhoods adjacent to port operations.

“As a leader among ports in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, the Port of San Diego is always seeking innovative ways to promote sustainability, and we can’t ‘move the needle’ without the support of our tenants,” says Port of San Diego Chairman Marshall Merrifield. “We want to recognize and celebrate the efforts of one of our key partners, the San Diego Port Tenants Association, for securing this grant from the California Energy Commission to fund significant improvements in clean technology for waterfront businesses. This grant award will help us all meet our sustainability goals while we continue the region’s economic development.”

Tying into the Port of San Diego’s 2013 Climate Action Plan, the SDPTA, its industrial tenant partners and several subcontractors will work together to develop and demonstrate 10 medium- and heavy-duty vehicles used in port operations, effectively employing zero-emissions technologies and improving the air quality in the Port of San Diego and the surrounding communities.

According to the SDPTA, the association and its partners will also work with leading industrial vendors, including BYD, Efficient Drivetrains Inc. (EDI) and TransPower, to build the all-electric freight vehicles. As previously reported, EDI has been selected as the drivetrain provider and vehicle integrator for the SDPTA project. The technology subcontractors are Peloton, GC Services, Greenlining Institute and carbonBLU.

Moreover, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) will study the charging patterns of the electric trucks to help maximize the use of renewable energy to power the vehicles. The energy company is supportive of many local clean air initiatives and provided the technical background, which was the backbone of the grant application to the CEC. The transportation sector currently accounts for approximately 40% of California’s and 54% of San Diego’s total greenhouse-gas emissions.

“Transportation electrification is crucial to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. There is a groundswell happening in San Diego for switching from gasoline as a fuel source to clean electricity – whether that means making the next car in your driveway an electric vehicle or replacing heavy-duty diesel at our local port with clean electric trucks, which is what this grant will do,” says Mike Schneider, SDG&E’s vice president of operations support and sustainability and chief environmental officer.

“To further support this shift to clean energy, SDG&E has launched an innovative new program, called Power Your Drive, to install thousands of new electric vehicle charging stations in the community. In addition to de-carbonizing transportation, we are de-carbonizing the grid by securing more than 33 percent of the energy we deliver to San Diego’s homes and businesses from renewable resources, like solar and wind, and we expect to reach 40 percent by 2018,” adds Schneider.

Along with SDG&E, the Grant Farm worked with the SDPTA to write and submit the grant and will be part of the team, ensuring the grant tasks and project deadlines are met.

The SDPTA had the support of a wide variety of regional leaders and organizations in its grant application, including San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, the South County Economic Development Council, the Climate Action Campaign, and San Diego Coastkeeper, among others.

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