Annual Hydrogen Evaluation
The past year of growth in California’s hydrogen fueling station and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) markets has progressed similarly to projections reported in the 2018 Annual Evaluation. In addition, new programs and policies have been developed and initiated to ensure that some of the most ambitious public-private goals are met as projected. The Low Carbon Fuel Standard’s (LCFS) Hydrogen Refueling Infrastructure (HRI) credit provisions took effect, predicated on the goal of reaching 200 hydrogen stations by 2025 as described by Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-48-18 (EO B-48-18). The California Energy Commission’s (Energy Commission) proposed concepts for the next station funding solicitation were also released, aiming to maximize the benefit of the current Assembly Bill 8 (AB 8; Perea, Chapter 201, Statutes of 2013) program. The next funding solicitation has been proposed to adopt a multi-year, network-focused approach designed to emphasize economic competitiveness and deploy more than the 100 station minimum of AB 8.
The period between June 2018 and June 2019 saw the completion of six additional hydrogen fueling stations and the deployment of over 1,500 FCEVs. These are positive developments demonstrating the continued success of the AB 8 program’s funding efforts to date. The next year will be a further demonstration of this success, with as many as 11 additional stations completing construction and opening for retail customer service later this year. All remaining stations are still projected to be completed by the end of 2020, in line with previous expectations.
The past year has also demonstrated continued participation of private industry beyond the AB 8 program. The public-private California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) published its vision of one thousand stations and one million FCEVs by 2030 in its 2018 Revolution document. The members of CaFCP have continued work on translating that vision into enabling goals and actions and may provide further publications in the next year to bring the path of success into clearer focus. Several industry stakeholders have announced multi-million dollar plans for investment in hydrogen fuel infrastructure upstream of the fueling stations themselves. Auto manufacturers have similarly announced significant scale-up of FCEV production capacity in the near future. Developments have also continued in other vehicle markets, with companies like Nikola announcing significant heavy-duty FCEV and infrastructure deployment plans that could represent a major transformation of the market for hydrogen as transportation fuel.
These developments all indicate continuing growth in the hydrogen fuel and FCEV markets in California. However, the goals of EO B-48-18 and the Revolution require much more than continuation of the historical rate of growth in FCEVs and hydrogen fueling. Meeting both of these goals requires acceleration in both markets that must initiate within the next few years. The State’s efforts are beginning to address this needed shift and attempt to provide an impetus to accelerate market development, especially through new concepts in AB 8 funding and the LCFS HRI program. The California Air Resources Board and the Energy Commission are also continuing to develop analysis methods that highlight a path to hydrogen fueling network self-sufficiency, provided FCEV deployment grows commensurately.
The analyses presented in this year’s Annual Evaluation are guided by the requirements outlined in AB 8 and rely heavily on CARB’s participation in the State’s implementation and ongoing public-private cooperation and collaboration. From these informational resources, CARB has outlined our determinations within this report.