Earlier this month, we flipped the switch on our first Power Your Drive for Fleets installation, providing electric vehicle charging infrastructure to support a fleet of all-electric passenger vans at local nonprofit Outdoor Outreach.
This installation is significant for a couple of reasons. First, it’s the first installation in this program that seeks to install 3,000 chargers to support fleet electrification throughout our service territory. But perhaps more importantly is the customer in which this EV infrastructure deployment supports.
Outdoor Outreach works to reach youth from San Diego’s most vulnerable communities and eliminates barriers to accessing outdoor spaces in southern California. The organization provides nearly 2,000 youth with 500 meaningful outdoor youth development programs each year. One of the biggest barriers to accessing outdoor spaces for program participants is transportation. Despite living within miles, many youths have never visited state parks and beaches, often due to the distance of the parks and lack of access to a vehicle/public transportation.
While our Power Your Drive for Fleets program provides the make-ready infrastructure to support electric vehicle charging, it does not provide incentives toward transitioning fleets to electric. In this case, a unique partnership with Citizens Energy, a non-profit energy company founded by former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II, provided the funds to enable Outdoor Outreach to make the switch. As a non-profit energy company, Citizens Energy is committed to donating profits from its investments in clean energy and clean transportation projects that benefit low-income communities. In this case, Citizens Energy was able to donate profits from their investment in our Sycamore-Peñasquitos transmission project to aid Outdoor Outreach.
As a non-profit energy company, Boston-based Citizens Energy is committed to donating profits from its investments in clean energy projects to benefit low-income communities. In this case, Citizens Energy was able to donate profits from their investment in our Sycamore-Peñasquitos transmission project to aid Outdoor Outreach. A previous partnership on our SunrisePowerLink transmission line resulted in Citizens building a 40-megawatt community solar array, the nation’s largest, to provide discount electricity to 12,000 low-income customers in California’s Imperial Valley.
With the addition of the two fully electric 2020 Ford Transit vans that were fabricated by Lightening eMotors, Outdoor Outreach is able to increase its program capacity while reducing the environmental impact of our operations. Additionally, most youth will experience riding in a fully electric vehicle for the very first time. This aligns with OO’s core values, inspiring youth to experience and envision new possibilities for their lives and promoting environmental sustainability.
Together with Outdoor Outreach, Citizen’s Energy we are helping to provide opportunities for youth to be physically active; a space to build positive relationships with peers and mentors; the skills, competencies and coping strategies to build resilience in the face of their challenges and the confidence in their power to make a difference.