Today, California announced a $120 million investment to install over 10,000 charging points throughout the state. The new "Electric Expressway" will be built up by NRG Energy Inc. and will include 200 public fast-charging stations and 10,000 "plug-in units" at 1,000 locations.

Just a few days ago, the first official openings in the West Coast Electric Highway happened in Oregon. The Electric Expressway is not part of the WCEH, but it's not like electric vehicle drivers will care. Chargers are chargers. Nissan issued a statement applauding Brown's "clear vision and strong commitment to electric vehicles." See that statement plus ones from NRG and the Union of Concerned Scientists after the jump.

Meanwhile, over in New Jersey, a bill to support charging stations being installed at businesses and homes is moving through the legislature. If signed into law, the state government will support stations by paying for up to $500 for each one next year, with decreasing amounts after that. Details here.
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STATEMENT: NISSAN APPLAUDS CALIFORNIA'S $120 MILLION INVESTMENT FOR CREATION OF 'ELECTRIC EXPRESSWAY'

"Nissan applauds California Governor Brown's clear vision and strong commitment to electric vehicles through the $120 million investment for the creation of the Electric Expressway. California is leading the way in fostering the growth of electric cars, such as the zero-emissions Nissan LEAF. More than 40 percent of the 11,000 LEAFs sold in the United States are on the roads in California. Today's landmark commitment, which will bring more than 10,000 electric-vehicle charging points to the state, paves the way for widespread adoption of this critical technology."

NRG Energy, Inc. to Build Unprecedented Electric Vehicle Fast-Charging Infrastructure in California

PRINCETON, NJ; March 23, 2012 – The California Public Utilities Commission and NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) have entered into an agreement where NRG will build a comprehensive electric vehicle (EV) charging network in California, investing approximately $100 million over the next four years.

This fee-based charging network will consist of at least 200 publicly available fast-charging stations-installed in the San Francisco Bay area, the San Joaquin Valley, the Los Angeles Basin and San Diego County-which can add 50 miles of range in less than 15 minutes of charging. Additionally, NRG's EV infrastructure commitment will include the wiring for at least 10,000 individual charging stations located at homes, offices, multifamily communities, schools and hospitals located across the State.

"With this agreement, the people of California will gain a charging infrastructure ready to support their current and future fleet of electric vehicles," said David Crane, NRG's Chief Executive Officer. "And we will be helping the State meet its clean car goals as embodied by its Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate."

The agreement, pending approvals and finalization, resolves outstanding litigation arising out of a long-term electricity contract entered into over a decade ago by a subsidiary of Dynegy, Inc., then a co-owner with NRG of the portfolio of power generating plants currently owned by NRG in California. NRG assumed full responsibility for resolving this matter in 2006 when NRG acquired Dynegy's 50% interest in the assets.

"California already leads the way in the development of an alternative energy transportation sector and, with the price of gasoline above $4 per gallon and rising, all Americans need to be giving serious consideration to the increasingly attractive electric vehicle alternative to what former President Bush called 'our national addiction to foreign oil'," continued Crane. "This network will be built with private funds on a sustainable business model that will allow NRG to maintain and grow the network as EV adoption grows."

The agreement calls for a network that will bring:

A minimum of 200 direct current (DC) fast chargers to the state.
A minimum of 10,000 parking spaces retrofitted with wiring necessary to charge EVs at multifamily buildings, large worksites and civic sites such as universities and hospitals.
Training and jobs for the installation and maintenance of these charging stations in California.
Advanced charging services that increase the speed and power of DC fast charging, store electricity to minimize peak-period demand, and enable EV drivers to support electrical grid reliability with needed energy services through vehicle to grid technology enhancement and implementation.
Significant additional investment in California's clean technology economy and hundreds of jobs in construction and EV infrastructure manufacturing, maintenance and management.
Approximately $100 million in infrastructure investment over four years, and $20 million in cash to go to the California Public Utility Commission.

About NRG
NRG is at the forefront of changing how people think about and use energy. A Fortune 500 company based in Princeton, NJ, NRG is a pioneer in developing cleaner and smarter energy choices for our customers: whether as one of the largest solar power developers in the country, or by building the first privately funded electric vehicle charging infrastructure or by giving customers the latest smart energy solutions to better manage their energy use. Our diverse power generating facilities can support more than 20 million homes and our retail electricity providers-Reliant, Green Mountain Energy Company and Energy Plus-serve more than two million customers. More information is available at www.nrgenergy.com. Connect with NRG Energy on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @nrgenergy.

Safe Harbor Disclosure
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Such forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions and include NRG's expectations regarding the Company's agreement with the California Public Utilities Commission and electric vehicle infrastructure and forward-looking statements typically can be identified by the use of words such as "will," "expect," "believe," and similar terms. Although NRG believes that its expectations are reasonable, it can give no assurance that these expectations will prove to have been correct, and actual results may vary materially. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated above include, among others, general economic conditions, hazards customary in the power industry, competition in wholesale power markets, the volatility of energy and fuel prices, failure of customers to perform under contracts, changes in the wholesale power markets, changes in government regulation of markets and of environmental emissions, and our ability to achieve the expected benefits and timing of our electric vehicle projects. NRG undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. The foregoing review of factors that could cause NRG's actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in the forward-looking statements included in this news release should be considered in connection with information regarding risks and uncertainties that may affect NRG's future results included in NRG's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission at www.sec.gov.


CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR'S $120 MILLION SETTLEMENT ADVANCES ELECTRIC VEHICLE INFRASTRUCTURE

STATEMENT BY ADRIENNE ALVORD, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS

BERKELEY, Calif. (March 23, 2012) – California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. (D) today announced a $120 million settlement with NRG Energy Inc. that will fund a network of electric vehicle charging stations across the state. He also issued an executive order that lays the foundation for 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on California roads by 2025.

The electric vehicle charging network will include at least 200 public fast-charging stations along with an additional 10,000 plug-in units at 1,000 locations across California.

The settlement, which stems from California's energy crisis, comes on the heels of the state Air Resources Board's (ARB) update to the groundbreaking ZEV program. Revisions adopted in January include the most significant change to California's ZEV program in its 20-year history-requiring battery, fuel cell, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to account for up to 15 percent of California's new vehicle sales by 2025.

Below is a statement from Adrienne Alvord, California and Western States director for the Union of Concerned Scientists:

"Using the settlement in this creative way is turning a dark chapter in the state's recent past into a fantastic opportunity to build our future. This is an example of the sort of imaginative leadership we welcome to help create a cleaner and more secure future.

"Governor Brown's executive order and the settlement are significant and creative commitments to a clean energy future for California. More electric vehicles on the road and more charging stations will help create jobs in California while cleaning our air, tackling global warming, and protecting consumers from pain at the pump.

"Increasing accessibility to charging infrastructure throughout the state should give consumers greater confidence in choosing an electric vehicle as their next vehicle purchase, and goes hand in hand with the ARB's ZEV program that ensures automakers will continue to expand their offerings of plug-in electric vehicles."

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The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading U.S. science-based nonprofit organization working for a healthy environment and a safer world. Founded in 1969, UCS is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and also has offices in Berkeley, Chicago and Washington, D.C. For more information, go to www.ucsusa.org.