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Has Arnie’s hydrogen highway hit a roadblock?


Erk. Speculation is afoot that the Arnie “Get to the chopper” Schwartzenegger’s plan to get a hydrogen fuelling stations dotting California is having some considerable problems, after some stations have shut up shop and plans for others have been shelved. Out of Arnie’s proposed 100 stations, only 22 are up and running.
From the Mercury News:

California Air Resources Board officials met with more than a dozen energy companies and automakers Thursday to shore up wavering support for the governor’s proposed hydrogen highway – a network of fueling stations to allow motorists use non-polluting fuel-cell-powered vehicles.

Energy companies agreed Thursday to provide money and staff time needed to reopen a critical hydrogen station at the California Fuel Cell Partnership, a group of state and private organizations in Sacramento that are working to get hydrogen into mainstream use. […]

The Air Resources Board said it will reissue bids for the projects in the next few weeks and will add money to help upgrade two existing stations. There is already $7.7 million set aside for the competitive projects from past budgets. An additional $6 million is being requested for future projects in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget, which he released Thursday.

The LA Times has more:

But the three stations that never got off the ground are raising the most eyebrows. All three contracts were awarded in May 2006, for amounts ranging from $1.1 million to $1.25 million. Last spring, however, the award to Cal State L.A. was rescinded because of contractual disagreements. And in October, the San Diego Unified School District, chosen to build a station that creates and dispenses its own hydrogen using wind energy, also fell through, because the school district never acquired the necessary land.

Just before Thanksgiving, PG&E’s contract with the state also fell through. Jennifer Zerwer, a spokeswoman for the utility, said it disagreed with the Air Resources Board over how the station should operate. The state expected PG&E to generate the hydrogen it dispensed on site, but the utility, eager to invest in other alternative vehicle technologies, wanted only to sell hydrogen created elsewhere.

If only all Arnie’s problems could be solved by putting on some camouflage paint and getting out some very big guns.

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