Energy Exchange

New Jersey BPU’s electric truck and bus charging infrastructure proposal: A solid first step but more is needed

By Elizabeth B. Stein and Pamela MacDougall

New Jersey’s march toward electric trucks and buses has picked up speed in the last few years. This summer, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities released a preliminary proposal outlining the development of charging infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles throughout the state, inviting stakeholders to participate in public discussions and provide written comments. This straw proposal has incredible potential to ready New Jersey for the coming wave of electric buses and trucks and to accelerate and build on existing progress.

Environmental Defense Fund filed written comments on this proposal yesterday. The takeaway? Though it sets the stage for some progress, the straw proposal has some gaps that suggest the BPU’s vision for electrifying trucks and buses misses key public benefits and some fundamental realities of how the transformation will occur. As written, it limits the potential and power of a well-calibrated BPU framework for electrifying the sector and risks undermining New Jersey’s climate, clean energy, equity and economic goals.

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New group of leading fleets leverages collaboration to overcome barriers to truck electrification

Electric trucks are one of the most consequential climate investments companies can make today. These vehicles are increasingly available, able to do the job required of them, and fleets are embracing them.

As fleets make the transition to a zero-emission future — especially first movers — they are required to develop solutions to numerous challenges that electrification currently presents. This includes (but is not limited to) optimizing routes, designing charging systems that can fit within the operations of their current facilities, and engaging drivers around this new technology. It’s a daunting task.

To support fleets as they address this unprecedented pace of change, EDF has partnered with the North American Council on Freight Efficiency, RMI and CALSTART and have created the Electric Fleet Readiness Group.

This group is comprised of leaders from top private fleets that are deploying or exploring zero-emission electric class 6-8 trucks within their operations, including: Dependable Highway Express, Manhattan Beer Distributors, NFI, Pitt Ohio, and Anheuser-Busch, among other fleets. Collectively the companies participating in the fleet readiness group operate over 50,000 trucks and have already deployed over 50 electric trucks with announced plans for hundreds more.

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3 things to watch as New Mexico begins hearing on new oil and gas air pollution rules

Under Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico has made oil and gas air pollution and methane reductions a focus of regulatory improvements, restoring enforcement teeth to the governor’s Oil Conservation Division and finalizing a strong methane waste rule that bans routine venting and flaring earlier this year.

These critical policy efforts will reach a climax starting Monday, Sept. 20, as the state’s Environmental Improvement Board considers landmark new rules proposed by the New Mexico Environment Department that have the potential to dramatically cut pollution from the oil and gas industry, clean up the air and protect the health of local communities.

Here are three things to watch as the EIB hearings unfold.

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Illinois lays out blueprint for next generation climate legislation

Immediately after the Future Energy Jobs Act was passed in 2016, EDF and our tremendous partners in the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition started work again. Building on that momentum and with many new and diverse partners, the Coalition held over 100 listening sessions with communities about their top priorities for Illinois. During those listening sessions, in every corner of the state, shared priorities emerged and became the pillars of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act.

The core tenants of CEJA were built from the bottom-up, and after years of hard work, deep listening and authentic collaboration, the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, SB2408, was signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker yesterday.

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As Texas fails to stop flaring, EPA must act

Routine flaring in Texas is, well, too routine. It’s wasteful, harmful for health and the climate, and getting permission to burn gas instead of finding a productive use for it is far too easy in our state. Over 1 trillion cubic feet of Texas gas have been vented or flared by operators in the past decade — as much gas as 14 million Texas households use in an entire year.

Under mounting pressure from investors, communities and oil and gas operators, factions of industry have made recent public commitments to reduce this wasteful practice. For example, the Texas Methane and Flaring Coalition announced a collective goal to end routine flaring in Texas by 2030.

This may sound like progress, but in reality it’s yet another decade of wasteful flaring and a pledge that comes with no commitment to the regulatory changes vital to make it happen statewide. We can’t wait that long.

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Houston Metro and Mayor Turner show climate leadership with fleet electrification commitment

Last month Houston Metro voted to shift to purchasing only zero-emission buses by 2030 — the same year the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has set as a deadline to cut the world’s emissions in half. Both decisions are driven by the same goal: a healthier, safer and cleaner world for our kids. As the largest transit authority in Texas, with one of the nation’s largest fleets, Metro’s bold decision is to be applauded.

The move to procure a zero-emission fleet is a necessary one in the self-proclaimed “energy capital of the world,” which has dealt annually with the harm from a warming climate and extreme weather events — the unprecedented flooding of Hurricane Harvey and the fatal crippling of the unprepared power grid by the hard winter storm. In the face of a hotter world, we cannot just turn our air-conditioners up.

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