Ditch those Dirty Diesels (“TERP” that Old Truck or Tractor!)

Image Source: Flickr/TruckPR

TCEQ can pay for the replacement of dirty diesel equipment with cleaner equivalent machines.

Have you ever heard of “TERPing”?  (Hint: it has nothing to do with pop music singers.)

In Texas, it’s shorthand for when the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) pays owners of dirty diesel equipment to reduce emissions by purchasing cleaner equivalent machines. The program, called the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (the “TERP” in “TERPing”), is a voluntary incentive program focused on improving air quality in the metropolitan areas of the state that have issues with meeting federal clean air requirements for ozone.

Since the TCEQ is accepting applications now, consider “TERPing” your older truck or equipment to apply for some of the $20 million* currently available. It’s a win-win program for all involved that we’ve written about before: Texas gets cleaner air and makes progress on its commitment to meet health-based ozone standards, and owners of heavy-duty equipment get new, cleaner machines.

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What’s new for the Emissions Reduction Incentive Grants (ERIG) program?

Since its beginning more than a decade ago, TERP has expanded into several different programs, including the Emissions Reduction Incentive Grants (ERIG) program. ERIG remains the biggest of the TERP programs in Texas, but there are a few key differences for the current grant round:

  • There have been several additions to the list of eligible counties where you can apply for TERP funds, including El Paso, Henderson, and Hunt.
  • Eligible project types only include onroad, nonroad, and some stationary projects (that means no marine, locomotive, refueling infrastructure, or onsite idle reduction infrastructure for this grant round).

The amount of funding awarded is generally tied to the level of emission reductions achieved, meaning the more you potentially reduce, the more cash could be available to you. For example, for some high-usage applications, up to 80 percent of the cost of the new equipment can be eligible for reimbursement.

Typically, old diesel equipment is replaced or repowered with new, similar equipment that runs on diesel, electric, or alternative fuels. In exchange for the funding, grant recipients scrap their old diesel according to TCEQ requirements and submit periodic reports of usage of their new equipment in their counties. Since the program is designed to show improved air quality in certain areas, these periodic reports allow TCEQ to verify that emissions are reduced from use of cleaner trucks and equipment.

The due date for these grants is February 2, 2016, and TCEQ evaluates ERIG grant applications on several criteria. Typically, the most competitive proposals are the ones that provide the state of Texas with the greatest reduction of pollution per dollar spent (that is, the projects that give Texas the most bang for the buck).

Other opportunities

In addition to ERIG grants, TCEQ is currently accepting applications for a couple of other TERP programs aimed at additional clean air projects:

  • Alternative Fueling Facilities Program—this program focuses on providing grants (up to 50 percent or $600,000, whichever is lower) for refueling infrastructure for alternative fuels like hydrogen, electricity, methanol, as well as natural gas fuels. The due date for applications is March 8, 2016.
  • New Technology Implementation Grant Program—this program was created to encourage some stationary (non-mobile) facilities in Texas to incorporate clean energy technologies. One million has been set aside for energy storage projects. The due date for applications is February 16, 2016.

Texas continues to face challenges to ensure our air is clean for all Texans to breathe, but replacing old diesel equipment with newer, more efficient models is an easy win for our health. EDF encourages potential participants to look into how TERP might make business (and clean air!) sense. If we can help, please let us know.

*The $20 million for the current ERIG round unfortunately represents only a fraction of what Texas has collected for TERP because lawmakers have not fully appropriated money that has been collected for TERP. While the last legislative session did see an increase in the appropriation for the program by legislators, EDF continues to encourage lawmakers to allow TCEQ to use the money for its intended purpose: clean air.


Image credit: Flickr/TruckPR

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