April 7, 2021. The City of Porterville and SRECTrade announced key milestones and plans to continue reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality for area residents. Porterville is rapidly electrifying its fleet and getting paid to do so by SRECTrade via the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program. In a region battling air pollution, the municipality has taken bold steps to deploy zero- and near zero-emissions fleet equipment by deploying compressed natural gas (CNG) buses and electric buses, as well as light-duty charging stations that generated more than $65,000 of LCFS credits in 2020, and with higher post-COVID use could generate more than $100,000 in 2021.
As a visionary and early adopter of alternative fuels among municipalities, Porterville, located in the San Joaquin Valley, deployed its first CNG bus in 2010 and first electric bus in 2018. Porterville’s fleet today consists of 10 battery-electric buses, 12 battery-electric vans, 10 200kW DC Fast Chargers and six Level-2 public charging stations, with 14 additional DCFC stations under construction, that reduce total cost of ownership and enable quicker adoption, while also creating a healthier future for the community. By 2024 Porterville plans to convert its entire fleet to electric and provide more public-access charging infrastructure for residents.
“The key was taking those first steps – it was hard work, but more doable than anyone thought,” said Transit Manager Richard Tree. “A wealth of resources existed to help us move forward. Getting started quickly showed what was possible technologically and financially. We learned, adjusted, and kept moving forward.” Tree emphasized the advantage of engaging resource partners with the knowledge and capabilities required to help address the challenges encountered when planning, funding, deploying, and managing zero-emission transportation equipment and infrastructure.
These cleaner vehicles also save money. Electric fuel and maintenance costs have been reduced by about 80% and 75%, respectively. Grant and incentive programs such as the California LCFS program supported the city’s initial deployment while also providing an ongoing revenue stream and offsetting electricity costs. In the past year alone, the City of Porterville generated an average of $0.21/kWh from its electric fleet.