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San Diego Climate Action Plan

February 2, 2016 in Uncategorized


Last month, San Diego’s City Council unanimously approved a Climate Action Plan (CAP) with the ambitious goal of switching to 100% renewable energy and cutting greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in half by 2035. The CAP has been under development for five years, with its final version released in September 2014 by Mayor Kevin Faulconer. The CAP includes five main strategies for reducing GHG to achieve 2020 and 2035 targets:


A breakdown of GHG emissions in San Diego shows that transportation contributes 55% of community-wide emissions, mostly due to the high frequency of single-occupancy vehicle trips. Accordingly, the CAP calls for cutting the proportion of San Diegans who commute by car from 87% to 50% by 2035, with a specific focus on residents who live within a half mile of existing or planned transit stops. The population of those living in these “Transit Priority Areas” is expected to be about 60% of San Diego residents by 2035. To achieve this goal, the plan calls for shifting commute choices away from the personal car and toward transit, bicycling, and walking. The plan calls for an increase in transit usage from 10% to 25%, bicycling from 1% to 18%, and pedestrian travel from 1% to 7% by 2035.

The Bicycling, Walking, Transit & Land Use strategy of the CAP includes actions to improve mobility, enhance vehicle fuel efficiency, and reduce overall vehicle miles travelled (VMT) of personal cars. The CAP states that by changing land uses and adopting a new community design perspective, San Diego residents will be able to decrease their travel distance and rely more on alternative forms of transportation. Other implementation methods include revising and managing parking standards, retiming traffic signals, and installing roundabouts in congested intersections. Additionally, one of the Clean and Renewable Energy goals includes increasing the number of municipal zero emissions vehicles. The target is to increase the number of municipal fleet ZEVs to 50% by 2020 and 90% by 2035.

A full list of the Bicycling, Walking, Transit & Land Use strategy’s goals, actions, and targets are outlined below.

Bicycling, Walking, Transit & Land Use Strategy 

Goals, Actions and Targets




Increase the use of mass transit Implement the General Plan’s Mobility Element and the City of Villages Strategy in Transit Priority Areas to increase the use of transit. Achieve mass transit mode share of 12% by 2020 and 25% by 2035 in Transit Priority Areas.
Increase commuter walking opportunities Implement pedestrian improvements in Transit Priority Areas to increase commuter walking opportunities. Achieve walking commuter mode share of 4% by 2020 and 7% by 2035 in Transit Priority Areas.
Increase commuter bicycling opportunities Implement the City’s Bicycle Master Plan to increase commuter bicycling opportunities. Achieve 6% bicycle commuter mode share by 2020 and 10% mode share by 2035 in Transit Priority Areas.
Reduce vehicle fuel consumption Implement a Traffic Signal Master Plan to retime traffic signals to reduce vehicle fuel consumption. Implement a Roundabouts Master Plan to install roundabouts to reduce vehicle fuel consumption. Retime 200 traffic signals by 2020. Install roundabouts at 15 intersections by 2020 and an additional 20 intersections by 2035.
Promote effective land use to reduce vehicle miles traveled. Implement transit-oriented development within Transit Priority Areas. Reduce average vehicle commute distance by two miles through implementation of the General Plan City of Villages Strategy by 2035.


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Alternative Fuel Tax Credit Extensions

January 26, 2016 in Alternative Fuels, Funding

Last month, President Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016. Several tax credits were extended under Division Q, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act (PATH Act). Many of these provisions allow significant savings in alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure. Below is a brief summary of the tax credits, with links to the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center for more information on each incentive.

Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit Residential fueling equipment may receive a tax credit up to $1,000, while commercial fueling equipment for various alt fuels are eligible for a 30% tax credit up to $30,000.
Alternative Fuel Excise Tax Credit $0.50 per gallon tax credit for alternative fuels.
Alternative Fuel Mixture Excise Tax Credit $0.50 per gallon tax credit for alternative fuels used in mixtures with gasoline, diesel, or kerosene.
Qualified Two-wheeled Plug-In Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Tax Credit Qualified vehicles are eligible for a tax credit of 10% of the cost of the vehicle, up to $2,500.
Fuel Cell Motor Vehicle Tax Credit Up to $4,000 tax credit for the purchase of qualified light-duty fuel cell vehicles.
Biodiesel Income Tax Credit $1.00 per gallon tax credit for biodiesel, agri-biodiesel, or renewable diesel for taxpayers that deliver unblended biodiesel into the tank of a vehicle.
Biodiesel Mixture Excise Tax Credit $0.50 per gallon tax credit for biodiesel, agri-biodiesel, or renewable diesel used in mixtures with gasoline, diesel, or kerosene.
Second Generation Biofuel Production Property Depreciation Allowance 50% special depreciation allowance for second generation biofuel production plants.
Second Generation Producer Tax Credit Second generation biofuel producers registered with the IRS may be eligible for a $1.01 per gallon of biodiesel tax credit.
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Propane Landscaping Equipment Workshop

December 15, 2015 in Uncategorized


On December 8, the San Diego Regional Clean Cities Coalition hosted a propane landscaping equipment workshop for local lawn care professionals. The workshop featured the benefits of converting to propane-powered lawn mowers, including significant savings in cost and greenhouse gas emissions. Speakers from SDRCCC, Amerigas, and Expo Propane offered their expertise.

The workshop began with a presentation from Clean Cities Coordinator Kevin Wood on the basics of propane compared to gasoline, the availability of propane fueling stations in San Diego County, and additional resources including station locations and the latest propane research. Patrick Haefner, the national sales manager at Metro Lawn, addressed the various environmental, political, and economic benefits of converting to propane mowers and Metro Lawn’s propane conversion process. Some potential economic savings include fuel costs, maintenance, and reduced fuel pilferage and spillage, while a conversion to propane reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30 percent. Steve Moore of Expo Propane gave the closing remarks on overall benefits and incentives for switching to propane before the workshop concluded with a showcase of one of Metro Lawn’s propane-powered commercial mowers.

Thank you to all who attended and helped make the event a success. The presentations and contact information for our speakers are available below.

Clean Cities Introduction to Propane

Metro Lawn Presentation

Speaker Contacts
Kevin Wood –
San Diego Regional Clean Cities Coalition


Michelle Heaton –


Steve Moore –
Expo Propane
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Clean Cities Question of the Month: What is Renewable Natural Gas?

November 23, 2015 in Alternative Fuels, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Question of the Month

Question of the Month: What is renewable natural gas (RNG) and can it be used to fuel vehicles?

Answer: RNG is pipeline-quality natural gas made by collecting and purifying biogas, the methane produced from decomposing organic matter. Biogas can be collected from sources such as landfills, livestock operations, wastewater treatment plants, food manufacturing and wholesalers, supermarkets, restaurants, and hospitals. Once purified to remove contaminants and increase its heat content, the gas is called RNG and is a “drop-in” fuel that can be transported with conventional natural gas in pipelines, dispensed at the same fueling stations, stored in the same storage tanks, and used in natural gas vehicles without any engine modifications.

Despite its advantages, there are only 60 operational RNG production facilities in the United States. Many more use the biogas to generate electricity. This is due to federal and state programs, such as the federal Investment Tax Credit and state renewable portfolio standards, which incentivize the use of biogas for power generation rather than for vehicle fuel.


The purification process for biogas is called conditioning or upgrading, and it involves removing water, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and various contaminants and trace elements. From there, RNG can be compressed to make renewable compressed natural gas (R-CNG) or super-cooled to make renewable liquefied natural gas (R-LNG).

RNG is produced from feedstocks that come from a wide range of industrial sectors, many of which already collect and process biomass as part of their daily operations:

  • Landfills: Landfill gas (LFG) is collected from decomposing waste in landfills. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), landfills are the third largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States. Landfills account for 70% of the operational RNG projects in the United States. One of the largest LFG-to-vehicle fuel projects is Waste Management’s Altamont Landfill near Livermore, California. This project produces up to 13,000 gallons of R-LNG each day to fuel 300 refuse trucks.
  • Livestock Operations: Animal manure can be collected and taken to an anaerobic digester for RNG production. A few farms across the country have started to use biogas to produce RNG vehicle fuel, including Hilarides Dairy in California and Fair Oaks Dairy in Indiana.
  • Wastewater Treatment Plants: Approximately 9% of the more than 16,000 wastewater treatment plants in the United States use anaerobic digestion to produce biogas. The Janesville Wastewater Treatment Plant in Wisconsin is an example of a plant that uses biogas to produce RNG for use in vehicles.
  • Other Biomass Sources: RNG can also be produced from lignocellulosic material, such as crop residues and dedicated energy crops, through thermochemical conversion, co-digestion, and dry fermentation. These technologies are being used in Europe, but have limited applications in the United States. RNG also can be produced from food waste, either alone or in conjunction with biosolids from livestock operations or wastewater treatment plants. CleanWorld Partners’ Sacramento BioDigester and quasar’s Central Ohio BioEnergy project convert food waste to RNG for vehicle fueling.

RFS2 Compliance

RNG qualifies as a cellulosic biofuel under the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) program. In fact, RNG accounted for more than 50 million renewable identification numbers (RINs) in 2014 – 98% of all cellulosic biofuel RINs.  According to organizations that track biofuels market data, cellulosic biofuel RINs were valued at $0.70– 0.85 per diesel gallon equivalent in 2014; this value is expected to increase in the future.

Other Benefits

Like conventional natural gas, RNG can be produced domestically and can displace the petroleum currently being imported for transportation use. However, RNG offers some additional benefits. RNG has practically a net zero carbon impact. On a lifecycle basis, RNG accounts for fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than most currently available motor fuels. RNG can reduce GHG emissions by 95% compared to conventional gasoline and diesel fuel. This is partially because capturing biogas from landfills and livestock operations can reduce GHG emissions by preventing methane releases that were occurring into the atmosphere. Additionally, RNG produced through anaerobic digestion eliminates odors and results in nutrient-rich liquid fertilizer as a by-product. Also, biogas feedstocks are plentiful, so RNG could make use of the 450 million pounds of municipal solid waste dumped in landfills, 160 billion pounds of food waste generated, or the 500 million tons of animal waste produced each year.


Like conventional natural gas, the main barriers to RNG are lack of vehicle availability and fueling infrastructure, though efforts are underway to address both of these obstacles. However, RNG production costs exceed those for conventional natural gas, especially for small-scale operations. Small-scale RNG production can cost around $5.50–$9 per million British thermal units compared to $4.50 for conventional natural gas. Additional financing and incentive opportunities, as well as state renewable portfolio standards that encourage the investment in biogas for vehicle fuel production, may spur additional production.

More Information

For more information on RNG, please see the following additional resources:

o   Landfill Methane Outreach Program:

o   AgSTAR Program:

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Propane Landscaping Equipment Workshop

November 18, 2015 in Alternative Fuels, Calendar of Events, Events, Propane


The San Diego Regional Clean Cities is hosting a free workshop on the benefits of propane-fueled lawn-care and landscaping equipment. Propane is an easily deployable alternative fuel with significant savings in greenhouse gas emissions and fuel costs. Discussions will include the basics of propane fueling, various equipment options, and the financial benefits of replacing old landscaping equipment with more efficient propane-fueled equipment.

The workshop will feature local propane fuel providers, equipment manufacturers, and industry experts to assist landscaping companies in going green. There will also be opportunities to see equipment and interact with vendors in a Q&A discussion, networking lunch, and equipment showcase.

The program and provided lunch are FREE, but space is limited so register today!

register online

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IKEA and TransPower Complete Evaluation of a Zero-Emission Tractor

October 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

IKEA has announced its plans to adopt a zero-emission electric tractor into its fleet for permanent use. This news comes after a full year of testing on an advanced electric yard tractor at IKEA’s Tejon, CA distribution center. This is the first long-term trial of an electric fleet vehicle at an IKEA facility. TransPower manufactured the tractor for IKEA in cooperation with the EPA and San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. The tractor features electric propulsion technology that significantly decreases CO2 emissions.

Since deployment in September of 2014, IKEA has noted the tractor’s reliability and low operating cost compared to equivalent diesel tractors. The company typically uses the electric tractor for three shifts per day, accumulating over 13,000 miles in operation in the last year. At this rate of use, the tractor reduces CO2 emissions by 50 tons per year. TransPower has since converted four additional tractors for IKEA’s California operations.

The energy cost of the tractor’s operation is less than 3 cents per mile, largely due to the facility’s 1.8 megawatt solar roof installation. This solar array provides 90% of the energy needed to charge the tractor’s 120 lithium-ion batteries. In comparison, the same operation of a diesel tractor costs about 75 cents per mile.

TransPower, located in Poway, develops clean vehicles and energy storage technologies. The company has developed the proprietary ElecTruck, an electric drive system for large tractors, trucks, and buses and the Grid-Saver energy storage system. TransPower is currently developing products with hybrid-electric and fuel cell hybrid propulsion technology.

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World’s First LNG-Powered Containership

October 28, 2015 in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Alternative Fuels, Clean Air, Feature, Uncategorized


San Diego’s General Dynamics NASSCO has built the first LNG powered containership. The 764-foot long Isla Bella was delivered earlier this month to TOTE Maritime, two months ahead of its scheduled delivery. The containership is part of a two-ship contract with TOTE that was signed in December of 2012. The second ship, Perla del Caribe, was launched in August and is expected to enter service at the beginning of next year.

The Marlin class containership is currently the largest dry cargo ship powered by LNG, making it the cleanest ship in the world. In the switch to natural gas, the ship will reduce NOx emissions by 98%, SOx by 97%, carbon dioxide by 72% and particulate matter by 60% compared to TOTE’s vessels currently in service.

In January of 2013, TOTE and NASSCO also signed a contract to convert two of TOTE’s existing diesel-electric trailerships to LNG propulsion. The 839-foot Orca class ships were originally constructed by NASSCO in 2003.

The construction of these ships marks a successful partnership between TOTE, NASSCO, the American Bureau of Shipping, and the U.S. Coast Guard, who issued the final inspection of the LNG powered ship. The four collaborated on the design, construction and final commissioning of the ships.

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Annual Advancing the Choice Expo

October 19, 2015 in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Calendar of Events, Education, Events


The Future of Transportation

Thursday, October 29th 2015

The Western Riverside County Clean Cities Coalition will be hosting the 16th Annual Advancing the Choice Expo, featuring this year’s theme of “The Future of Transportation.” This year’s keynote speaker is Jim Madaffer, Chair of the California Transportation Committee and former San Diego City Council Member. The price of admission is $30 and includes opportunities to network, test-drive clean tech vehicles, and learn about future alternative fuel technologies.

This event is FREE for students.

register online

Date: Thursday, October 29 2015
Time: 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Location: UC Riverside Center for Environmental Research & Technology
1084 Columbia Avenue, Riverside, CA
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National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day

October 8, 2015 in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Alternative Fuels, Clean Air, Events, Hydrogen, Uncategorized

Hydrogen Day

Today is National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day! In recognition of hydrogen’s atomic weight of 1.008, October 8 is the perfect day to celebrate as hydrogen and fuel cell technologies are being deployed nationwide. California’s investments in alternative fuel vehicles, like hydrogen fuel cell electric cars, are fueling the state’s economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These zero-emission vehicles contribute to cleaner air and are hitting the roads now with numbers expecting to increase. National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day aims to help raise awareness of this abundant source of fuel that is cleaner and more efficient than petroleum.

Learn more about these vehicles and the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles through efforts of the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP). For additional information on National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day, read the details of the California Energy Commission’s News Release.

Visit a list of events and downloadable resources.

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Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program Accepting Applications

September 22, 2015 in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Alternative Fuels, Clean Air, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Diesel/Biodiesel, Electric Vehicles, Fleets, Funding, Hybrid Vehicles, Uncategorized

SDAPCD Funding Available

The San Diego County Air Pollution Control District is now accepting applications for the Proposition 1B Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program (GMERP) through November 20, 2015 at 5:00 PM. GMERP will offer approximately $12 million in funding to owners of eligible heavy-duty diesel trucks and transportation refrigeration units (TRUs) who upgrade to cleaner technologies. Formed by a partnership between the California Air Resources Board and local agencies, GMERP aims to reduce air pollution and health risk from freight movement along California’s trade corridors.

Qualifying applicants include owners of class 6, 7, or 8 heavy-duty diesel trucks and/or diesel TRUs, truck stops, distribution centers, or other heavy-duty diesel truck congregation centers within defined trade corridors.

Visit or call 916-44-GOODS for a complete list of program requirements.

Visit for online forms and instructions.

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