Energy Exchange

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

Electrifying trucks and buses is an opportunity for lasting change, one we can’t afford to miss

The U.S. is still struggling to contain the spread of COVID-19 and quantify the human and economic consequences of this historic tragedy. But already, leaders are contemplating how we’ll restore our economies. Will we rebuild a replica of what we had, or will we invest in ideas that will make society more resilient, healthier, cleaner and more equitable?

The transportation sector is on the cusp of massive change, and one segment within it is ripe for reinvention: medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. These include everything from semi-trucks and delivery vans, to city buses and garbage trucks — the overwhelming majority of which are powered by diesel engines.

Electrifying this segment was an opportunity for lasting change before the COVID-19 economic crash. Now that countries are considering where to invest to rebuild their economies, it’s an opportunity we can’t afford to miss.

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Also posted in Air Quality, California, Climate / Tagged | Comments are closed

Three things California should do to prepare for more electric trucks and buses

California is moving fast to replace dirty, gas-guzzling heavy-duty vehicles with cleaner, electric choices as a way to combat air pollution and climate change.

Both fleets and electric utilities need to rethink the way they build the charging stations needed to power these vehicles. Charging stations should be as affordable as possible, and help electric vehicles integrate more renewable energy into the grid. The California Public Utilities Commission is working with stakeholders to set out key guidelines, targets and metrics to reach those goals. This process, known as the Transportation Electrification Framework, is unquestionably a step in the right direction, but in order to maximize its impact there are some key things the CPUC should keep in mind.

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

Now is not the time to pump the brakes on fleet electrification

The coupled economic impacts of the pandemic and global oil crisis are expected to hit passenger electric vehicle sales hard, with a recent Bloomberg analysis predicting an 18% drop in sales this year. But many commercial fleets and state policymakers are continuing to push forward on their plans to electrify trucks and buses, even in these uncertain times.

We are seeing proof of this across the zero-emission vehicles market. In order to meet their long-term climate commitments as well as near-term policy requirements, fleet operators are continuing to accelerate their investments in electrification.

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