Calif. spending on alternative energy scrutinized

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A hydrogen fueling station in Burlington, Vt. The station converts electricity and water into hydrogen fuel. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

A hydrogen fueling station in Burlington, Vt. The station converts electricity and water into hydrogen fuel. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Alternative-energy programs that California has invested in heavily are coming under scrutiny.

The state spent $1.6 billion last year on a range of projects to promote energy efficiency or the use of energy from nontraditional sources.

Despite widespread budget cuts, the Los Angeles Times reports that energy programs have continued to grow.

Agencies are investing nearly $15 million to build hydrogen fueling stations, though there are barely more than 200 hydrogen-powered vehicles in California. Other purchases include milk trucks that run on cow manure.

Typically, the projects are paid for by little-noticed consumer fees or small charges on electricity bills.

Proponents say the funds are working the way they were designed and will help deal with climate change.

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