Jan 30, 2007 (From the CalCars-News archive)
Leaders of major corporations are starting to use their bullet pulpits to promote PHEVs. Mike Jackson is CEO of AutNation, the U.S.'s largest auto dealer. He spoke at the Plug-In Partners/EESI event January 23 (see http://www.calcars.org/calcars-news/668.html. John Bryson is CEO of Edison International, and Tom King is CEO of Pacific Gas & Electric. California's utilities, we often point out, don't benefit from selling more electricity: the rate structures encourage them to improve efficiency in the distribution of electricity.
AutoNation CEO advocates need for energy policy BY MIKE JACKSON
Special to The Miami Herald, Monday, January 29, 2007 http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/business/special_packages/business_monday/16556464.htm
Last week, Mike Jackson, CEO and chairman of AutoNation, joined with Congressman Jay Inslee, Sen. Orrin Hatch and Sen. Maria Cantwell on Capital Hill for a forum on legislative efforts to promote ''plug-in hybrids'' and address America's need for a National Energy Policy. What follows is his testimony:
It is vital that our country must break its addiction to imported oil. Economically, geopolitically and environmentally, our ongoing reliance on such vast quantities of foreign petroleum is a matter of national security.
There is no single solution to the issue. Improved technologies, alternative fuel sources, an appropriate higher gas tax, federally supported research efforts -- all these and more need to be pursued concurrently for us to see real, meaningful change in the near future.
As diverse as these approaches are, each has an important place under the umbrella of a true national energy policy. We have been doing without such a policy in any meaningful sense of the term for too long now.
Witness the inevitable consequences of our inaction -- economic overdependence on unstable and unfriendly regimes, accelerating environmental damage, and foundering consumer confidence, just to name a few -- and it seems clear that the United States and the world are worse off now than if we had taken appropriate action earlier.
Fortunately, it doesn't have to be this way. There is still opportunity for us to change course -- if we have the vision and foresight to do the right thing, rather than the expedient thing. Manufacturers are ready for it. Retailers are ready for it. The American public is ready for it. The only question is whether political leaders are ready for it.
A NEW TECH REVOLUTION
The technology to make progress is already on its way. It is not only conceivable, it is probable that we will be driving vehicles that are the culmination of a technological revolution as dramatic as the one that saw the replacement of horses with motor vehicles in the first place.
That is not an overstatement. While cars may look essentially the same in five or 10 years, what makes them go will be radically different, whether they're driven by flex fuel, hybrid, clean diesel or plug-in electric engines.
And the next generation of diesel is coming to the States, and they'll be a big surprise to those who have unhappy memories of diesel vehicles from the '70s. You'll be amazed at how smooth, powerful and clean the diesels of today actually are.
But among all the technologies that will be roadworthy in the next few years, the one that I find the most exciting is the plug-in hybrid.
Unlike today's hybrids, the plug-in uses a small engine to only recharge the battery, similar to a generator. Plug-in hybrids will be a silent, clean, efficient machine that has the range, power, drivability and appointments of today's gas cars -- without the emissions, the high cost, the volatility and the economic and geopolitical ramifications. Plus, plug-ins are charged overnight, when energy demand is at its lowest, so usage won't tax our existing grid unnecessarily.
These vehicles aren't purely fantasy cars. Consider the Volt. At the Detroit Auto Show (and at the Washington Auto Show), GM unveiled this concept car -- a vehicle that that meets all the important power train criteria and that has jaw-dropping styling, too.
As a concept car, the Volt may take three to five years before it -- or a variation -- actually hits the road. Production issues, labor issues, alternative technologies and other unknowns can influence just what cars actually get produced. But the fact that the car does what it does, and that competitors are on GM's heels with similar technology, lets us know that the eventual appearance of a new generation electric vehicles is inevitable. And when that happens, consumers benefit. The environment benefits. Our country benefits.
The challenge we face is the development of a safe, long-lived, powerful battery. The battery must be able to support the same sort of horsepower that a conventional engine generates and it must do so over a similar range. It needs to be rechargeable overnight to allow day-to-day driving, and it needs to take charge after charge after charge without degrading its holding capacity.
What's encouraging is that most of the researchers I've spoken with believe that, with ample resources and a dedicated effort, a winning design could be engineered within a few years.
Other governments are already working with their own domestic manufacturers to solve this issue. It is time for our government to do the same. Five presidents have called energy ''our most important national security issue'' -- so let's put our resources where they can do real, lasting good.
We need a commitment for a business-and-government alliance to develop battery technology that will make the plug-in hybrid a viable commercial reality, and we need that commitment now.
Act now. We can break our addiction to foreign oil.
John Bryson: Developing green ways to get around Published in Pasadena Star News and the Whittier Daily News, January 27, 2007 http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/opinions/ci_5102809
John Bryson is chairman, president and chief executive officer of Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison based in Rosemead, and Edison Mission Group, a competitive power generation business.
THREE recent announcements, one in California, one in Detroit and the other from Washington, could mean a significant change in direction for the transportation industry in this country: The first was Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's executive order establishing a low-carbon fuel standard for transportation fuels sold in California. The second was General Motors' announcement at the Detroit auto show of an advanced vehicle propulsion system that will move the automobile toward a "new electric age," as GM described it. The third was the president's call for a 20 percent reduction in gasoline in 10 years in his State of the Union Address.
With the transportation sector accounting for more than 40 percent of the state's greenhouse gas emissions, the governor's proposal for a low-carbon fuel standard will help California meet its ambitious greenhouse gas reduction requirements while increasing the use of domestically produced alternative fuels. The proposal would set a limit on the amount of greenhouse gases that could be emitted by each unit of transportation fuel consumed in the state; the limit would tighten over time.
This approach does not mandate any particular fuel or vehicle technology: The transportation industry is free to choose least-cost options that meet consumer demand. In addition, developing a diverse portfolio of fuels helps protect against supply disruption and price shocks.
Electricity can play an important role as a clean transportation fuel. Even after factoring in power plant emissions, a plug-in hybrid with a 20 to 40 mile electric range (and more than half of all Americans live within 20 miles of where they work) will reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions 45 percent to 60 percent below a typical new gasoline car or SUV for California, and about 40 percent below today's best conventional hybrid vehicles.
Electricity is an alternative fuel, domestic in nature, basically petroleum-free and derived from multiple feedstocks. Electricity can be used in conjunction with gasoline, clean diesel or bio-fuels. And electricity is virtually the only alternative fuel today with an existing and ubiquitous infrastructure already in place.
Automakers increasingly see a significant role for electricity as a transportation fuel. Earlier this month, GM unveiled its E-Flex propulsion system and the Chevrolet Volt concept car, a battery electric vehicle with range extender engine. These breakthrough announcements built upon GM's recently announced plans to produce a plug-in hybrid version of the Saturn Vue. Other carmakers, including DaimlerChrysler, Toyota, Nissan, Ford, also foresee rapid development of plug-in vehicles.
Trends in the electricity industry will position us well to support the introduction of these new plug-in vehicles.
First, the use of clean, renewable energy from wind, biomass and solar is increasing. Edison leads the nation in renewables, serving 17 percent of our customer needs with renewable energy. We are also exploring the use of gasification technologies, which will allow us to burn fossil fuels more cleanly. Because electricity generation will continue to get cleaner in the future, every mile we deliver from the grid will actually become cleaner in that future.
Second, the grid has excess capacity available to recharge vehicles, even in fast-growing Southern California. We have the ability to recharge millions of plug-in hybrids without building one new power plant - as long as customers charge at night when electricity demand is generally low. Fortunately, the third important trend - introduction of smart meters - will help send clear signals to customers on the importance of charging at night. Over the next six years, Edison will be installing new-state-of-the art smart meters in the homes of all of our 4.7 million customers. These meters will allow Edison to communicate with smart appliances - whether thermostats or plug-in hybrids - to help customers manage their electricity use and lower their bills.
Under the governor's leadership, Californians are working together to realize a future of renewables such as wind and solar; sustainable transportation solutions such as ethanol, bio-diesel and plug-in hybrids; and the promise of fuel cells to come. Through the adoption of flexible policies like the low-carbon fuel standard, we can encourage creative, cost-effective solutions to the challenges we face and achieve an efficient, sustainable future that benefits our communities, our state and our country.
PG&E part of climate-change solution San Jose Mercury News, January 21, 2007 http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/opinion/16512641.htm TOM KING is chief executive of Pacific Gas & Electric. He wrote this article for the Mercury News.
Thursday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger officially signed into effect the world's first low-carbon fuel standard, once again positioning California as a leader in addressing climate change. The governor's executive order to cut fuel carbon intensity by 10 percent by 2020 represents both smart environmental and sound economic policy.
The low-carbon fuel standard is a key first step in realizing our state's ambitious greenhouse-gas emission reduction goals under the Global Warming Solutions Act. It provides an opportunity for California's citizens and businesses to reduce our dependence on an increasingly costly and volatile resource. It also creates a sustainable and growing market for cleaner fuels, and serves as a way for companies to improve their bottom line, while doing well by the environment.
Targeting fuels is a necessity in meeting California's goals for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. According to the California Energy Commission, more than 40 percent of the state's greenhouse-gas emissions come from the transportation sector.
By 2020, this fuel standard will reduce the carbon content of all petroleum-based transportation fuels by 10 percent. In real terms, this eliminates 13.4 million metric tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere -- representing over half of the 24 million metric tons of carbon reductions needed to meet our goals under the Global Warming and Solutions Act. Put another way, the low-carbon fuel standard is equivalent to removing 3 million cars from the road.
The value of this policy is not just limited to its impact on addressing global warming and improving California's air quality. The governor's fuel standard also will bring tremendous economic benefits for the state's citizens and businesses.
The fuel standard's pragmatic market-based design serves as an example of how to create policy that is both predictable and flexible. The policy looks to markets, not government, to determine the lowest-cost path to achieving the standards and meeting customer demand.
The fuel standard also will reduce the state's heavy dependence on foreign oil. A recent report by the California State Board of Equalization found that California relies on petroleum for 96 percent of its transportation needs. By reducing our reliability on petroleum-based fuels, we will decrease consumer and business vulnerability to volatile gasoline prices.
Opponents of the new fuel standard argue that the costs of converting to cleaner fuels outweigh the environmental and social benefits associated with the use of these vehicles.
But in PG&E's experience, adopting cleaner fuels has not only reduced our greenhouse-gas emissions, but has also significantly decreased the costs of our service fleet.
Over the past two decades, PG&E has been investing in the necessary infrastructure to support the deployment of its own alternative-fuel vehicles, including those powered by natural gas, fuel cells and, recently, a plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV). Currently, we operate one of the nation's largest alternative-fuel utility fleets, and our natural-gas-fueled fleet is the largest in the nation.
In terms of infrastructure, PG&E owns 27 compressed-natural-gas fueling stations that supply clean natural gas to our own fleet, as well as 200 commercial and private fleets, including municipal transit operations, private waste haulers, school districts and private package-delivery providers.
From 1995 to 2005, PG&E's alternative vehicle program avoided using nearly 2.6 million gallons of diesel and gasoline; that's the equivalent of taking about 700 cars off the road for a year. That's a cost savings of $1.4 million. If fuel and vehicle tax credits are taken into account, the savings become even greater.
The low-carbon fuel standard sends a clear market signal to California's businesses: Now is the time to make investments in cleaner-fuel vehicles. PG&E is committed to further developing existing and emerging alternative-fuel technologies and infrastructure as we continue to address the challenges associated with climate change. We urge other businesses to join us in making California's future environmentally and economically sustainable.