Energy Exchange

A 100% clean transportation future requires smart electricity pricing for trucks and buses

By Elizabeth B. Stein and Beia Spiller

Zero-emission solutions for trucks and buses have arrived. But converting fleets from fossil fuels to electricity requires more than new vehicles and chargers. It will require smart electricity pricing to ensure that new demand from these power-hungry vehicles doesn’t break the grid, and that costs remain manageable for fleet owners, utilities and all customers.

Making good use of the grid at times when it would otherwise be underutilized keeps electric rates low for all customers. For passenger vehicles that are charged at homes, pricing structures that encourage charging when demand is low and clean electricity is plentiful have produced great results for car owners, the electric system and the planet.

Getting similar win-win-win outcomes for trucks and buses will be more complex, though achievable with the right policies and rate structures.

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Also posted in California / Comments are closed

California ramps up the speedometer on the electric vehicle future

By Larissa Koehler and Pamela MacDougall 

California recently made history when it committed to making every car across the state electric, with a specific goal for electrifying all operating trucks and buses by 2045. The move — along with a number of other clean vehicle initiatives — will eliminate a huge amount of climate pollution as well as other emissions that deteriorate air quality and impact public health. But what comes next?  How should the state prepare for this 100% electric vehicle future?

Rolling out more medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles will not be possible without building out more charging infrastructure.  This is a complex process for many reasons. For one, passenger vehicles have different charging needs than larger trucks and buses.  Additionally, more vehicle charging will also lead to higher electricity demand. Finally, some communities and neighborhoods — like those situated near transit hubs or high-traffic areas — are more directly affected by diesel pollution and may need clean vehicle solutions more urgently than other places. California needs to account for all of these factors to develop a plan that maintains a clean, reliable and affordable electric grid, and delivers clean air benefits to the communities that need it most. Read More »

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

The path to zero-emission trucks and a 100% clean energy future

By Felice Stadler

The transportation sector is at a crossroads: zero-emission trucks have the potential to cut pollution that causes climate change and harms human health. However, a transition away from diesel pollution will require strong leadership from policymakers and private sector executives alike.

That opportunity was front and center last week, when EDF hosted a Climate Week 2020 panel discussion on new initiatives that will spur electrification in the transportation sector. So, too, was the urgent need to act: The transportation sector accounts for one-quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions. And urban cargo trucks burning dirty diesel are fouling the air, causing the deaths of nearly 10,000 people annually in the U.S. alone.

Here are four major takeaways from the panel, which included representatives from Air Alliance Houston, Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, and Ryder trucks.

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

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

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