PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric), the power company made infamous by the real life story and movie “Erin Brockovich” has decided to shut down a part of the Hydrogen Highway in northern California.
Just 3 ½ years out of bankruptcy the largest electric company in northern California has decided to pull the plug on the San Carlos hydrogen fueling station in the San Francisco Bay area. The PG&E power company is also turning down $1.5 million in state funds to do so.
Now, why would PG&E be shutting down the hydrogen station? The San Jose Mercury News quotes PG&E rep. Jill Egbert as saying, “From a resource standpoint, we feel a more pressing need to see how electric vehicles will affect our grid.”
There you have it. It comes down to economics. If hydrogen cars succeed in driving up and down the Hydrogen Highway of California, how much money does PG&E stand to profit by this? Not much.
Now, if plug-in hybrids and all electric vehicles succeed in taking over the market and plug into the grid all over California, how much money do the power companies stand to profit by this? Millions.
Once again, we have a large corporate entity putting profits over the public good. Perhaps it is a good thing that PG&E is moving out of the hydrogen business so that another business that doesn’t have an inherent conflict of interest can take over the reigns. Despite the saboteurs who wish to see hydrogen fail, the Hydrogen Highway will go on and grow in the years to come.