The North County Transit District (NCTD) announced a $4 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to build a hydrogen fueling station at the agency’s West Division BREEZE Facility in Oceanside.
This station, once built, will be able to support up to 50 hydrogen fuel-cell electric buses, bringing the District closer to its goal of transitioning its entire fleet to zero-emission buses by 2042.
The CEC grant accelerates NCTD’s transition from compressed natural gas to zero-emissions bus operations by four years, allowing the agency to rapidly scale up and leverage an initial purchase of 25 hydrogen-powered buses, which are scheduled to enter service in Spring 2025. The construction of the fueling station, as well as the anticipated deployment of new zero-emission buses, puts the agency ahead of local, state, and federal targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Zero-emission fuel cell buses operate on oxygen and hydrogen, emitting only water vapor. The new fueling station and buses are expected to reduce bus service carbon dioxide output by 78,825 metric tons per year – roughly the same amount of emissions as driving an average passenger car 200 million miles.
The CEC’s Clean Transportation Program, which invests more than $100 million annually to support innovation and accelerate the deployment of advanced transportation and fuel technologies, is funding the project.
“NCTD remains committed to being on the forefront of zero-emissions technology, providing clean transportation choices for our customers, and improving the air quality in our communities. This grant will enable us to do just that and accelerate our transition to a zero-emission fleet,” said Tony Kranz, NCTD Board Chair and Encinitas Deputy Mayor. “What’s more, this new technology and infrastructure will improve overall BREEZE operations by decreasing the time needed to refuel, expanding the service range, and increasing the fuel economy of our fleet.”
“We’re thrilled for NCTD to receive this grant and take significant steps toward improving air quality, public health, and the safety of their community,” said Patty Monahan, Commissioner, California Energy Commission. “The accelerated deployment of zero-emission transit solutions demonstrates NCTD’s commitment to providing the community equitable, clean transportation and supports social mobility through increased access to education, jobs, and community resources. This effort is yet another example how public-interest investment in clean transportation infrastructure catalyzes change in real, tangible ways and drives a transformation in how California moves.”