Energy Exchange

A new way to track truck pollution

By Timothy O’Connor and Aileen Nowlan

SunPower, a solar power and energy services provider, is starting to ship solar panels in electric heavy-duty trucks powered by — you guessed it — solar energy. The question that communities and investors are starting to ask is, why isn’t everybody?

How long can a company go without a plan to end goods transport powered by fossil fuels, and what are the health and climate consequences of the status quo?

Despite making up only about 4% of the vehicles on the road, diesel trucks are responsible for over half the smog-forming pollution from the transportation sector and a quarter of the climate emissions. This pollution is projected to grow, as demand for freight moved by trucks is on track to increase about 25% by 2030.

The local impact of this pollution is significant. Recent studies in places such as Oakland, California and Houston — two regions with large port operations and associated goods movement equipment located in or near environmental justice communities — have proven that diesel truck pollution leads to increases in childhood asthma rates and lower life expectancies in frontline communities.

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Also posted in Air Quality, California, Electric Vehicles / Language: / Comments are closed

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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Also posted in Air Quality, Electric Vehicles / Language: / Comments are closed

Bipartisan Texas law smooths the path toward a more vibrant EV market

By Daniela de Souza

On September 1, a bill that helps businesses build a better, brighter future for electric vehicles in Texas will become state law.

SB 1202, makes it possible for companies or individuals that own or operate equipment used solely for electric vehicle charging services to avoid being regulated as electric utilities or electric retail providers.

The Texas Utilities Code requires electric utilities to provide continuous and reliable electricity service on a non-discriminatory and transparent basis. In a January 2021 report to the Texas Legislature, the Public Utility Commission of Texas explained that these safeguards protect customers at their homes and businesses, where uninterrupted electric service preserves lives and livelihoods.

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Also posted in Electric Vehicles / Language: / Comments are closed

New study: 4 signs of a growing U.S. supply chain for zero-emission trucks and buses

Transitioning to zero-emission trucks and buses is necessary for both climate stability and to protect communities from air pollution. With nearly 23 million diesel-fueled medium and heavy duty trucks and buses operating on roads today in the U.S., moving to zero-emission technology will result in significant investments in manufacturing, infrastructure, operations and maintenance training, research and development and midlife vehicle businesses.

According to a new analysis conducted by EDF and the consulting firm PwC, a significant amount of investments in the electric truck and bus supply chain has already taken place — yielding a strong and growing domestic supply chain for zero-emissions medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Amidst the findings by EDF and PwC, four indicators stand out most:

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Also posted in Air Quality, California, Electric Vehicles / Language: / Comments are closed

Current power crunch underscores Texas Legislature’s lackluster efforts to “fix the grid”

When Texas state senators and representatives return to their home districts this summer, they’ll be able to tell constituents they did something in response to this winter’s deadly energy crisis. But they better not brag. And they might face some difficult questions when constituents ask why the Electric Reliability Council Of Texas is facing another supply crisis during a very predictable warm June.

Because despite promises to make sure February’s grid failures are never repeated, the Legislature only passed modest grid-related bills this session. They missed a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass comprehensive electricity reforms that would have fortified the grid and protected Texans from increasingly frequent weather-related energy crises. And they spent an unforgivable amount of time and effort vilifying solar, wind and electric vehicles and considering punitive legislation that had nothing to do with February’s disaster.

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Also posted in Clean Energy / Language: / Comments are closed