Driving California Toward a Clean Energy Future - CivicWell

Driving California Toward a Clean Energy Future

by Southern California Edison (SCE)

Climate Change & Energy


October 10, 2020


Southern California Edison (SCE) is committed to helping California reach its ambitious clean air and environmental goals. Last year, we highlighted our vision for the future in our Pathway 2045 plan – a data-driven analysis of the steps that California must take to clean our electricity grid and reach carbon neutrality by 2045. These steps include electrifying 75% of transportation, electrifying 70% of buildings, powering 100% of retail sales with carbon-free electricity and using low carbon fuels for technologies not viable for electrification.

Electrification of the transportation sector will greatly improve local air quality — an urgent need across California which consistently tops the country’s worst air quality rankings. Many communities in Southern California, for example, are situated near heavily traveled freight corridors, where the concentration of air pollutants regularly reach unhealthy levels.  These air pollutants and greenhouse gases can be significantly reduced with accelerated adoption of electrified cars, buses, medium and heavy-duty trucks along with industrial vehicles and equipment.

California is making bold moves in environmental leadership. Governor Newsom signed an executive order in September phasing out the sale of all combustion vehicles by 2035. California is already a leader in electric vehicle (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) adoption, with about half of all clean-running EVs and PHEVs in the United States being registered here. Last year, the state accounted for nearly half of the 329,528 EVs and PHEVs sold nationwide. Additionally, California is quickly becoming a global leader in EV research, design, manufacturing, and sales. The EV ecosystem in Southern California is ripe with job opportunities that pay above the regional average.

In 2019, SCE developed the EV Ready Communities paper as a tool to help local governments prepare for increased adoption of EVs by their residents, businesses and visitors to their communities. Recommendations include:

  • Prioritizing EV adoption and development of charging infrastructure in land use planning and policies
  • Using zoning, building codes, parking, and signage policy and a streamlined permitting process to encourage EV adoption and accessibility
  • Making use of well-attended, frequently used and publicly owned venues for EV charging
  • Electrifying city or regional fleets by replacing gasoline/diesel-powered vehicles with EVs
  • Mobilizing existing communication channels to engage and educate residents and businesses; and
  • Leveraging existing grant opportunities and other funding sources for EV readiness planning efforts.

While each jurisdiction will ultimately tailor their efforts to meet the unique needs of their community, prioritizing the development of an EV-readiness plan for your community is a good place to start.

EV-Ready Communities is just the beginning of an ongoing conversation between SCE and your jurisdiction. We can partner with you in a number of ways, from our various programs and incentives to providing technical assistance, to participating as a stakeholder as you develop your EV-readiness plan.

If you would like to learn more, the best place to start is to reach out to the Government Relations Manager assigned to your jurisdiction.

Moreover, we’re working to make owning an EV easier and more affordable for your residents and businesses. Through SCE’s Clean Fuel Reward Program, we’re making EV adoption more affordable to residential customers through a $1,000 rebate on a new or used EVs. In addition, the state has a Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) that provides consumers who buy or lease an eligible zero-emission or plug-in hybrid vehicle, an additional rebate of up to $7,000. We’re working to make those rebates available right at the point of sale when you’re buying or leasing an electric vehicle to make the process easier and help folks get those savings sooner.

The California Public Utilities Commission recently gave SCE approval for a robust EV charging infrastructure program that will add about 38,000 new chargers throughout our 50,000-square-mile service area. SCE’s Charge Ready 2 program will make EV charging more accessible and create economic opportunities. Charge Ready 2 will focus on providing charging infrastructure at workplaces, public parking lots, schools, hospitals and destination centers.

Charge Ready 2 is the nation’s largest light-duty electric vehicle charging program. Most importantly, to ensure that all of our communities benefit from the program, we’ll make sure that half of those charging ports are located in communities that are most heavily impacted by the combined effects of economic, environmental, and public health burdens. Charge Ready 2 is expected to launch in 2021.

As leaders, you know your communities the best. It’s important to put clean energy issues front and center for the health and safety of our region. We look forward to working with our local government partners in our service territory as we move toward a clean energy future together.