Wednesday, September 28, 2022
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Letter to the Editor: More EV Chargers Make Sense. Here’s Why.

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Remember opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of MendoFever nor have we checked the letters for accuracy.


Displaying iStock-481264884.jpg
[Stock photo from Sonoma Clean Power]

Dear Editor,

Provided in response to comments and questions regarding the recently published article, State Funding will Boost Number of Electric Charges in Mendocino County.

In 2021, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to power the county’s buildings with Sonoma Clean Power’s 100% renewable and locally generated 24/7 EverGreen service, joining several local cities and the neighboring County of Sonoma. 

Their resolution also included installing public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at county facilities and converting their nearly 400 passenger fleet to plug-in and all-electric vehicles. County-owned vehicles will charge at night, and the same charging stations will be available to the public during the day.

Powering our chargers.

More clean power is needed to meet the projected increase in electricity demand as more EV chargers are installed. The good news is that it’s coming.

In Mendocino County, residents and businesses have access to cleaner electricity through Sonoma Clean Power. The public power provider’s default service, CleanStart, is 92% carbon-free and made up of a diverse mix of sources including renewables like wind, solar, and geothermal power, and large hydroelectric. Sonoma Clean Power also offers EverGreen, a 100% renewable service generated by local geothermal and solar power. Drivers in Sonoma Clean Power’s service area can significantly reduce their emissions by switching to an EV. And charging an electric vehicle remains far less expensive than paying for fossil petroleum gasoline¹.

Sonoma Clean Power is building more renewable resources, locally and statewide. In June 2022, Sonoma Clean Power and developer Luminia signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the construction of a 11.6 MW solar plus 32 MWh battery storage project in southern Sonoma County. Construction of the 75-acre project is expected to be completed in the second half of 2024. 

Additionally, Mendocino County, Sonoma County, and Sonoma Clean Power are exploring local geothermal development to provide year-round reliability with renewable power sources. The goal is to build 500 MW of incremental local geothermal capacity.

Other EV charging projects.

The Sonoma Coast Incentive Project, funded by the California Energy Commission and Sonoma Clean Power, has dedicated $6.75M in incentives toward the purchase and installation of public EV chargers. Over 40 fast chargers and 150 Level 2 connectors will be added throughout Mendocino and Sonoma counties by the summer of 2023. 

Recently this year, Sonoma Clean Power committed an additional $800,000 to support the installation of high-speed DC fast chargers along rural highway corridors and near low-income multi-family housing within the unincorporated areas of Mendocino County, the City of Fort Bragg, the City of Point Arena, and the City of Willits². For passenger vehicles, DC fast chargers can provide up to an 80% charge in 15 – 45 minutes. 

EV battery recycling is improving.

Nationally, the United States Environmental Protection Agency found that the greenhouse gas emissions of an electric vehicle over its lifetime are typically lower than those of an average gasoline-powered vehicle, even when accounting for manufacturing. With SCP’s clean electricity, the numbers are far better here in Mendocino County. Recycling or repurposing EV batteries can reduce the need for new materials, further lowering the emissions associated with making an EV. While challenges still exist for recovering all of the valuable metals, there is ongoing research to improve the effectiveness and speed of EV battery recycling³. 

With more renewable energy coming online, the installation of more public chargers, and a growing market for affordable EV models and EV battery recycling, it’s becoming easier to consider making the switch. And as California moves toward phasing out new gas-powered vehicles by 2035, it’s the right time to increase the accessibility and convenience of driving an electric vehicle in Mendocino County.

Sources

¹ https://www.cnbc.com/2022/03/19/cost-of-charging-ev-vs-gas-prices.html

² https://calevip.org/incentive-project/sonoma-coast

³ https://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/electric-vehicle-myths

For more information on EV battery development and recycling, visit:

U.S. Department of Energy’s ReCell Center and National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries, 2021-2030 (pdf).

About Sonoma Clean Power

Sonoma Clean Power is the not-for-profit public power provider serving most of Sonoma and Mendocino counties. SCP started service as a Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) in 2014 to provide residents and businesses clean energy options and relevant incentives for improving energy efficiency. To learn more, visit sonomacleanpower.org or call 1 (855) 202-2139.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Our electrical grid is already over-loaded during peak hours, during which we are urged to minimize use.. What can we expect to happen if we add hundreds or thousands of EV’s that are dependent on the already-overloaded electrical grid?I

    • Anyone with an EV is going to do the majority of charging during off-peak hours. The cost of electricity during peak hours is much higher than if you charge overnight and these cars are equipped with technology to schedule when to start/stop charging.

      Michael is right on target with the high cost being a major barrier to widespread adoption. Prob will be a trickle in the county for sometime unless the technology and price fall considerably.

      I am personally happy to see the investments in the charging infrastructure. We need some public infrastructure for charging – tourists will need more chargers as adoption increases – and we need their visits and dollars for the local economy.

    • August 24: California bans sale of new gasoline-powered cars.

      August 30: California asks Californians to avoid charging electric vehicles due to electricity shortages.

      We’re looking at 108 degrees and we’ve been notified there will be brown outs in California. Let’s add some more combustible electric vehicles to the grid. Intentional devolution of the grid?

  2. Sharondory makes a good point. Sonoma Clean Power boasts it’s a not for profit company but all who work there receive substantial pay checks. Additionally: “phasing out gas powered vehicles?” Sure, but the average income in Mendocino county is around $36,000. bucks. EV’s on average cost $66,000. And there is lithium, key component for EVs. Do some research, if you care about the environment.

    • Non-profit does not mean “volunteer”.

      SCP does not funnel profits to wall street or some other private ownership group.
      All $ that comes in over expenditures is reinvested….mostly into infrastructure.
      This why they already own significant generating infrastructure and have been financing, at low interest, all types of energy efficiency upgrades and solar+storage for SCP customers.

      SCP is a direct response to the Enron debacle of deregulation that led to $5000+ MW-hrs @ wholesale rates during peak times of day.

  3. Are you sure about all this “green & carbon free power”?…I dont see any wind turbines around here & the charging stations have no solar panels on them. Meanwhile our pge rates keep rising & rising. Battery operated anything leaves a massive carbon footprint! From production to use & disposal. Everything is operated by battery now. Construction & landscaping tools, all our devices, cars…etc etc. Our grid can’t handle all.this constant charging of everything all damn day! We need the AC & fridge running properly when it 100+ outside. Lives depend on it. Nuclear power is the most efficient & cleaner way to produce power. Research it & embrace it!!!

    • Your post is filled with a load of misconceptions about how electricty works.

      This area is not very good for wind power, except offshore.

      Solar does not need to be on the EV charger for it to be supplied by solar. That’s part of why we have a “grid”.

      “Everything” is not battery operated now. If true, grid outages would be nearly non-existent.

      Advanced battery tech has a much lower carbon footprint vs lead acid…and a much longer lifespan to balance the carbon load.

      All the hype around nuclear greenwashing always seems to leave out the atrocious affects of mining and milling uranium…mostly because it’s done on Native reservations out of your view and under the guise of the BIA (with multiple decade or 99yr leases) without approval by those tribes; mostly in the Black Hills (Sioux) and in NM (Navajo Nation).
      Uranium mining companies have a horrible track record for health and safety, and severe environmental degradation, all the while leaving behind Superfund sites that we all pay for so we can subsidize a small number of very rich people to avoid accoutability while water is poisoned for centuries (or more) and residents live in severe cancer clusters.

      The nuclear industry has proven itself time and time again to be:
      1. far less than trustworthy
      (Heard of 3 mile island? Or the whistleblower that exposed them?)
      2. to not give a fuck about anyone or anything but making money for the companies that sell the equipment and the power utilitie’s scams to hike rates for infrastructure development AND write off any expenditures in infrastructure.

      Plus, not 1, single nuclear power generation station, worldwide, has EVER made a profit…even with massive subsidies (50%+ of cost to build and operate) of public money.
      Best they’ve ever done is to break even.

      Where should the spent nuclear fuel go?
      Nearly a million engineers haven’t figured it out in >100yrs.

      We spent billions on Yucca Mtn only to find out later it’s all built in Sandstone, a permeable rock.
      Water flowing down through Yucca Mtn (inside the Great Basin) surfaces in Death Valley (outside the Great Basin).

      Research it. Embrace facts, not industry propoganda.
      …fuck greenwashing

      • PS. Mining and milling radioactive materials is extremely carbon intensive…this is very commonly left out of the nuclear equation propoganda.

      • & mining the minerals for batteries is clean, safe & has no impact on humans or the environment? The companies mining these minerals have no interest in profits? The companies buying these minerals to make batteries are only doing it to save the planet? They all are transparent & honest & only implement safe practices? You might be as brainwashed as me, buddy! Nuclear power has minimal waste & is low level active. It can even be recycled to some degree. & they don’t just dump it in the open air, dude. Its all in steel reinforced concrete & pretty safe. Its the goal of every company to make $ & they all lie, cheat & steal. “Green” companies just hide behind the “its better for the earth” narrative. Lots of holes in your tirade too.

    • The letter says we can choose locally produced electricity, sourced almost entirely from geothermal and solar PV, by upgrading to Sonoma Clean Power’s EverGreen service. I personally choose EverGreen to support the production of local geothermal and local solar PV, knowing the EverGreen portfolio is over 99% carbon free.

      For customers who stay with Sonoma Clean Power’s Clean Start service, they are still purchasing electricity that requires minimal carbon emissions for production. At 92% carbon-free, Clean Start is far cleaner than the national average, and is among the cleanest power anywhere in California. That’s because the Clean Start power is sourced mainly from large hydro power, but also includes some geothermal, some solar PV and some wind. Clean Start power is not typically sourced from production sites within Mendocino or Sonoma Counties. That’s why wind is included in the Clean Start service, not the locally sourced EverGreen service.

      • According to their website, it’s 44% out-of-area large hydro.
        But the actual sources are not listed.
        Where are these facilities?

      • Not sure that SCP has the specific facilities listed, or not, as they are purchasing that power as a broker from the owner/producers…like Calpine, PGE, etc.
        Though are more likely closer to the point of use than farther.
        But, we do have only 3 grids in the US: East, West, & 90% of Texas.

        SCP is primarily a big PPA broker 1st, an generation owner/manager 2nd, and a NON-transmitter/distibutor.

  4. Hopefully Sonoma Green Power paid you for this propaganda’
    Electric powered cars just means the tailpipe is somewhere else!!
    Electric powered cars manufacture depends on massive mining for rare elements and no real solution for the dead battery’s years later.
    Most parts of California are having electrical power grid problems as it is.
    As this perhaps 200-year historical pattern drought continues there goes hydro power from dams that greenies hate anyway.
    Elon Musk is a genius, but he is more interested in moving to Mars.

    • Is a letter to the editor from a citizen with an opinion, not from SCP.

      EVs use a significantly lower amount of overall energy to move as electric traction motors are 93%-99% efficient conversion rates in real life, where an ICE motor is, at best, 35% efficient in a lab.
      Plus all the fueling infrastructure costs, to build and supply an ICE car.

      Batteries are being recycled as you type. Is not perfect but has seriously improved.
      Manufacturers have a vested interest in not wasting these materials.

      Who’s taking care of all those abandonded oil and gas wells?
      Vast majority get abandoned by drillers/pumpers so they poison water & off gas methane freely. So we all subsidize that damage countrywide and thru states sealing wells with massive concrete pumping…best we know, but not perfect.

    • Electric vehicles weigh far more than comparably-sized gas vehicles. In addition to crash safety issues and efficiency, there are considerable safety concerns. Battery fires are difficult to extinguish, often consume the entire vehicle, and many have failed to escape the vehicle fire resulting in loss of life. We have watched everything from EV buses to cars to scooters burst into flames. Even Tesla models have been completely consumed by fire. Some garages will not permit certain EV models to park due to the frequency with which they burst into flames. for example: https://www.tellerreport.com/business/2020-11-14-gm-recalls-69-000-chevrolet-volt-evs—-%22fire-hazard%22.r1LLQv1aYD.html

  5. How do we produce the electricity to keep up with demand of EV charging? We keep voting out nuclear power and water power and wind power, we don’t have any Renewables left besides oil which isn’t even considered renewable.

  6. Thank goodness they made those chargers near low income housing…then the plebs can charge their cars there. Want to solve climate change- buy an electric vehicle! What do you mean you don’t have the money???
    Out of touch and out of time- apply ‘net zero’ to the makers of electric vehicles. How about removing the state gas tax instead?

    • Because the gas causes such severe detriment to the air, soil, & water that oil companies can ignore because we subsidize nearly everything but spills from negligence.

      Why don’t people ask for the same level of accountability from oil & nuke companies that they demand from the renewable industry???

      Why not net zero for ICE vehicles, too?

      Why the outsized & imbalanced demand for an industry that already causes far less detriment daily?

      Hold nukes to the same flame and they’d be out of business in under 5yrs as Wall Street would entirely divest and then utilities would stop buying the far too expensive wholesale electricity from the nuke plants.

      The oil industry still receives far more government subsidies per net calorie produced/generated than the renewables industry.

      Notice, in all my posts I offer little opinion, if any.
      I am not anti-most anything. Just pointing out reproducible facts by which to help form better informed opinions.
      If we could manage radioactivity in a “truly” reasonable way then go for it. As things sit we have real problems.
      Similarly so for oil & gas.
      We do have small reactors that are near impossible to meltdown…great advancement!
      But, are still stuck w the spent fuel.

      When the very first upper atmosphere tests were done (in 1953) it was well after extensive at grade and air burst nuclear detonation testing occurred along with >100yrs of heavy coal & fossil fuel burning.
      Thus, we do NOT know the normal background level of radioactive material in our environment.
      We have obviously increased those “background” levels.

      But, it is clear that we are far out of balance and a lot must change if we can reasonably hope our children’s children have a hope for more than just survival.

      If we can make the best of renewables then we could have specific oil & coal types for a lot of very special applications for far more than 1000yrs.
      Am sure, that by then we could discover alternatives, assumming we don’t commit species wide suicide beforehand.

  7. I believe that inclusiveness of all ranges of monthly incomed families should be addressed in green technology. A high ticket vehicle isn’t possible for most of the population in Mendocino county. Inclusiveness gives respect and pride to all individuals. I would also like to see the county invite businesses that repair current vehicles gas or hybrid to optimize mpg and use the 286 million gas vehicles in the US right now, to end of life. Instead of making gas car or truck owners, feel forced to change. Address their factual concerns about relying on the grid. The grid has to be substainable to charge millions of vehicles. Peak hours will change to nightime, once high amount of EVs are added to California. I believe solar panels added to EVs… makes much more sense. We’ve done that to houses. Do that with cars. Buying new while just throwing away old that is still working, is a wasteful practice. A visionary that could put electric and solar, inside a current car body, at a lower price, would be an awsome solution, during a time of changes. And not waste 286 million × ??? metal & plastic pieces.

  8. Notice when the green movement talks they never mention, the super charge station come with a price, you don’t charge for free. Never mention that when you plug in at your house, you’re using the grid. Never mention that a battery needs minerals, other countries where these minerals are found destroy land getting them and don’t give a rat’s ass about the environment. This green stuff is a scam for politicians to funnel money to high donors.

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
Editor's Note: Whenever an article's byline reads "MendoFever Staff", the contents of that article were not composed by any of our reporters. Types of writing that will be attributed to "MendoFever Staff" include press releases, letters to the editor, op-eds, obituaries— essentially writing that is not produced by a reporter.

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