The California Energy Commission (CEC) approved funding to expand electric vehicle charging and advance development of a pioneering microgrid at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

The CEC approved funding of $220,554 to expand the campus’ charging network for plug-in electric vehicles, through the Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The campus is on track to having the largest, most diverse range of electric vehicle charging stations at any university in the world, thanks in part to CEC funding. By June 2013, the university expects to have a total of 54 charging outlets, with more than 70 percent available for public use.

These awards come on the heels of another award to expand UCSD's electric vehicle charging infrastructure. In November 2012, CEC awarded $69,446 to Alternative Energy Systems Consulting, Inc., to install five RWE Level 2 electric vehicle charging systems, each consisting of two charging outlets for a total of 10 charging outlets to support the campus' growing fleet of plug-in electric vehicles.

Nearly half of the UCSD fleet of more than 800 vehicles has been converted to near-zero emission vehicles. Diesel fuel has been replaced with ultra-low sulfur biodiesel, and many buses, street sweepers, cars and trucks have been converted to run on compressed natural gas. The fleet also includes five Nissan Leafs and more than 50 hybrid-electric vehicles. The university's "green fleet" was ranked 14th of the Government Green Fleet awards for 2012.

Governor Jerry Brown's executive order directs state government to support and facilitate the rapid commercialization of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in California, with a 2025 target of 1.5 million ZEVs on California roads. The order also requires that sufficient infrastructure be installed in the state to support 1 million ZEVs by 2020.

The Commission also approved a $1.6 million award to increase its previously awarded funding of $1,394,298 for the university's electric microgrid. The microgrid award is funded through the Commission's research and development program. The total Commission funding for the amended agreement is $2,994,298. The university is providing an additional $1,525,000 in match funding.

The microgrid is a small-scale version of the traditional larger power grid that draws energy from clean sources such as the wind and sun, as well as from conventional technology. It is able to connect to the larger electric grid, but can also work independently. In addition, the microgrid can more efficiently manage real-time demand, supplying and storing energy at a lower cost with less pollution than a conventional grid. The university reports savings of more than $800,000 in power costs per month because of its microgrid.