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, Electric Vehicles, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Wind Energy / 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, Electric Vehicles, New Jersey, New York, Washington, DC / Tagged | Comments are closed

To ensure North Carolina’s Clean Energy Plan succeeds, we must act now

North Carolina is already reeling from the impacts of climate change in the form of severe weather, sea-level rise and extreme heat. Our people and our communities are bearing the cost of inaction. Solutions are needed now, and thankfully more state leaders, like North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, are stepping up and pledging to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In October 2018, Gov. Cooper issued Executive Order 80, which set a goal of reducing North Carolina’s greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2025 and called on state agencies to develop plans for achieving that goal. Last month, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, along with other state agencies, did just that by issuing a series of plans for how North Carolina will tackle climate change here at home.

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Also posted in Clean Energy, Climate / Comments are closed

North Carolina’s transportation sector is poised for electrification, but creative solutions are needed to achieve success

In 2018, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 80, an initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and enhance public health statewide. It was an important step toward addressing the global climate crisis starting right here in our backyard. The governor’s order calls for the creation of a Zero Emission Vehicle Plan, which outlines a goal to get 80,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2025. This is an exciting initiative that should help push the EV market along. But North Carolina is capable of achieving far more than is laid out in the current plan — most of which the state is already on track to achieve.

North Carolina’s transportation system has long been ripe for electrification. In fact, the state will likely reach or exceed 80,000 EVs, roughly 4.5% of light-duty (passenger vehicle) sales, by 2025 under a business as usual scenario. Therefore, a more ambitious target of 15% light duty EV sales, with an additional 5% medium-duty and heavy-duty EV (large trucks and buses) sales target, is not only achievable but also better supports the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40% over 2005 levels by 2025. North Carolina will need to adopt new policies to support this ambitious goal.

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Also posted in Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles / Comments are closed

New report highlights potential for energy storage in North Carolina

North Carolina recently took another key step in its push for a clean energy future with the publication of a long-awaited study on the opportunities, challenges and value of energy storage for the state. The report, which was mandated under the 2017 Competitive Energy Solutions Act (House Bill 589), is the culmination of a year-long research effort led by a multidisciplinary team of researchers from North Carolina State University in partnership with the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory.

The report finds that North Carolina is at a critical juncture in its clean energy future, with energy storage poised to play a key role. However, in order to develop market opportunities for storage and ensure its full benefits are realized, policymakers must take key steps to wisely accelerate the adoption of energy storage in North Carolina.

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Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Storage / Tagged | Comments are closed

These red and blue states are tackling climate change since Trump won’t

By Keith Zukowski, Communications Project Manager

If you’ve been focused on recent reports of climate disaster, or on the Trump administration’s relentless attacks against environmental safeguards and climate science, you’re probably worrying we’re not making progress – at all.

But look a little closer, right here in the United States, and you’ll see that people aren’t waiting around. Instead of giving in to a warmer, more chaotic world, states across the country have stepped up, and into, the vacuum left by the federal government.

They’re implementing creative, innovative solutions that tackle climate change while prioritizing people, our economy and the environment. While federal policies will ultimately be necessary to fully take on climate change, these states are proving that action is both doable and good for the economy.

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Also posted in California, Clean Energy, Climate, Colorado, New Jersey, Renewable Energy, Wyoming / Comments are closed