Energy Exchange

Walmart commits to 100% zero-emission trucks by 2040, signaling electric is the future

As part of its ambitious goal announced yesterday to achieve zero-carbon operations by 2040, Walmart outlined a notable timeframe for transforming its truck fleet. The company will accelerate efforts to pilot zero-emission trucks over the next few years and then aggressively ramp up its use of these vehicles, in order to achieve a full fleet transition by 2040.

Its embrace of zero-emission trucks is significant because large trucks are a major source of air pollution that harms our health and warms the climate. Tackling pollution from trucks is one of the single most important actions we can take to address climate change and provide healthier and longer lives for millions affected by toxic air pollution. This is especially true for overburdened communities and communities of color, which often border major highways and freight hubs, where diesel pollution from trucks is most acute.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy / Comments are closed

Rolling blackouts in California prove conventional power plants need to become extinct

On Monday this week, I got into my electric car and the following image popped up.

Image courtesy of electrek

My car was encouraging me to shift my charging patterns. Why?

California, along with large chunks of the rest of the West, is experiencing one of the worst heat storms on record. The weather pattern was abnormal, with less wind to cool people off at night. Since the heat storm hit most of the West, the ability to import power from our neighbors was also greatly compromised. The weather pattern also created over 11,000 lightning strikes, which sparked several wildfires throughout the state. In turn, those wildfires resulted in changed grid operations. Last, with more people staying home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, energy demands are higher and different than normal. As a result of all of these factors, the state’s electric grid operator issued an emergency alert, which triggered the state’s first rolling blackout in nearly two decades.

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Also posted in Air Quality, California, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Walmart and J.B. Hunt give glimpse of trucking’s future

It’s an everyday scene in Southern California: a big rig hauling a metal shipping container from a port facility to a distribution center or rail yard. Last week, this old story got a new twist with a 120-mile emission-free haul featuring two shipping behemoths from Northwest Arkansas: Walmart and J.B. Hunt.

Our nation’s two biggest marine ports – the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach – operate right next door to each other in a complex known as the San Pedro ports. Nearly 40% of the shipping containers coming into the U.S. enter through this complex. These containers are packed with goods destined for homes and business across the country, with stops along the way at distribution centers, fulfillment centers and retail shelves.

The consumption and movement of these goods has profound equity implications. This is acutely the case around the San Pedro ports. A recent report found that “freight movement accounts for about 42% of NOx emissions in the South Coast Air Basin, with heavy-duty trucks that service the ports the single-largest source within that category.” These trucks, known as drayage trucks, are a mere 0.1% of the vehicles on the road but contribute 5% of total NOx pollution. Addressing the impact of drayage trucks is an environmental and equity imperative. Thankfully, we have the technical means to do so. Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy / Comments are closed

VW settlement funds spark string of North Carolina electrification projects

By Michelle Allen

After years of legal and legislative wrangling at state and federal levels, the first round of Volkswagen settlement funds will soon begin to flow to grantees. Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Hendersonville), the General Assembly unanimously passed legislation in June to release $31 million to fund the first of a three-phase plan to utilize the state’s settlement allocation. The funds are part of the settlement Volkswagen agreed to after six years of deliberately programming vehicle models to deceive tailpipe inspectors by dramatically under representing their nitrogen oxide emissions — a pollutant linked to respiratory diseases and a key element for the formation of smog and acid rain.

The settlement dictated that allocated dollars only be spent on projects that reduce air pollution. In North Carolina, that first round of funds has been earmarked to replace the state’s oldest transit and school buses with a combination of improved efficiency and zero-emission models. Of the total $31 million, lawmakers also allocated $3.4 million to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the state.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy, North Carolina, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Wind Energy / Comments are closed

New York’s EV plan takes small but critical steps in the right direction

UPDATE: Since the publication of this blog post on June 11, 2020, the New York Public Service Commission released an order that recognizes the legitimacy of calls from stakeholders to address the requirements of both passenger EVs as well as trucks and buses. It proposes a $15 million “make-ready” pilot program for medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles that, among other considerations, “must support a direct reduction of diesel emissions located in environmental justice communities through electrification of the medium-duty/heavy-duty vehicles and trucks.” In addition, the commission directs $10 million toward utilities partnering with transit authorities in the state to provide make-ready bus infrastructure in depots, and directs the establishment of a $20 million competition to drive innovation in the medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicle sector. This innovation competition will give heightened consideration to last-mile movement of goods and people in disadvantaged communities. EDF is gratified to see these small but critical steps in the right direction, for the reasons explained in the below blog post, and will work with the commission to ensure these programs are as beneficial as possible.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy, New York / Comments are closed

New multi-state collaboration makes an important commitment to electric trucks and buses

As our nation grapples with a historic public health crisis, 15 states and the District of Columbia are showing leadership by committing to address a dangerous culprit that makes us more vulnerable to COVID-19 and climate change: diesel pollution from trucks and buses.

These pollutants have significant negative consequences on air quality and health. Despite comprising just 10% of vehicles on the road across the U.S., trucks and buses are responsible for 57% of fine particulate matter, 45% of oxides of nitrogen and 28% of greenhouse gas emissions for that sector.

Besides increased planetary warming, pollution from diesel vehicles leads to a higher rate of asthma, heart attacks and premature deaths — ailments that disproportionately affect people of color and disadvantaged communities, which often border freight corridors, ports and depots. A growing body of evidence suggests that people with respiratory illnesses, often caused or exacerbated by transportation-related pollution, are more susceptible to the effects of COVID-19. Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, California, Clean Energy, Colorado, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Washington, DC / Tagged | Comments are closed