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EGEB: California’s stimulus includes $1.5B for electric and hydrogen cars

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • California governor Gavin Newsom has earmarked $1.5 billion for electric and hydrogen cars in the 2021 budget.
  • The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling auction was a flop, as it drew no interest from anyone but Alaska itself.
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California’s EV budget

California governor Gavin Newsom previewed California’s 2021 $4.5 billion budget for economic stimulus this week. It includes $1.5 billion — that’s one-third of the total budget — in subsidies to help commercial and private buyers purchase electric or hydrogen vehicles, and the construction and maintenance of charging and fueling infrastructure.

The California EV budget also allows for installation of EV charging stations at all state-owned facilities.

California has banned the sales of new ICE vehicles in California by 2035. (But consumers will still be able to buy used ICE cars.)

CNBC reports:

According to AutoForecast Solutions Vice President of Global Vehicle Forecasting, Sam Fiorani, in the next year alone, 11 new North American-built electric vehicles are expected to enter the domestic market, along with an updated Tesla Model S.

Imported EVs are also poised to sell stateside, including in California. These include the Nissan Ariya, Volkswagen ID.4, and others.

Arctic drilling auction flop

As Electrek reported on November 17, 2020, the Trump administration bulldozed through a last-minute gas and oil drilling-rights auction in Alaska’s 19-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before President-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20.

It was unclear at the time how much interest there would be in the remote Arctic wilderness due to low crude prices.

In December, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) suddenly announced that it would slash the 1.56 million acres that it originally planned to auction off by 457,000 acres, which are in the southeastern corner of the Coastal Plain. That’s about one-third of a cut.

The deadline for bids was yesterday. And the number of offers were… one, from the Alaska Industrial Development and Industrial Authority, a state agency. In other words, Alaska was the sole bidder in its own auction. No oil giants placed bids, as they are increasingly focusing their shift to green energy in an oil slump.

Alaska governor Mike Dunleavy tried to put a positive spin on the auction results:

As the Alaska Wilderness League explains,

Eleven tracts received complete bids totaling just more than $14 million, well below the $1.8 billion (or less than 1%) in revenue promised by drilling proponents in the lead up to passage of the Tax Act in 2017. The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority was the leading bidder. All in all, just over 550,000 acres of the 1.6-million-acre coastal plain received bids.

Instead of the federal treasury and the state of Alaska making billions, today the state of Alaska had to spend money to make an Arctic Refuge lease sale happen.

Nearly all of the land sold for the minimum price of $25 an acre.

Adam Kolton, executive director, Alaska Wilderness League, said in a statement:

This lease sale was an epic failure for the Trump administration and the Alaska congressional delegation. After years of promising a revenue and jobs bonanza they ended up throwing a party for themselves, with the state being one of the only bidders. We have long known that the American people don’t want drilling in the Arctic Refuge, the Gwich’in people don’t want it, and now we know the oil industry doesn’t want it either.

Ultimately, we believe the courts will find the Trump administration’s Arctic Refuge drilling scheme to be illegal, violating bedrock environmental laws and ignoring its responsibility to protect the food security of Indigenous peoples and the refuge’s irreplaceable wildlife and wilderness values.

President-elect Joe Biden has opposed any development on the refuge, and may be able to overturn drilling now that the Democrats have control of the US House and Senate.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.