Massachusetts expands electric vehicle rebates to nonprofit, business fleets

Massachusetts has expanded its electric vehicle incentives to include nonprofit and business fleet vehicles, a move intended to maximize the environmental impact of the program at a time when a slumping economy has slowed vehicle sales across the state — and progress toward the state’s carbon emissions goals.

“It’s a big step forward,” said Jordan Stutt, carbon programs director at the Acadia Center, a nonprofit focused on the clean energy economy. “There’s no pathway in which we hit our climate targets without rapid electrification of vehicle fleets.”

“We really need to be working to address equity directly in every facet of our clean transportation plan,” Stutt said.

Read the full article from Energy News Network here.

Our View: Fewer cars, cleaner air should be goal for Maine transit

But lowering emissions will show that Maine is serious about contributing to a very important fight.

It will make us healthier, too – according to the Rockport-based Acadia Center, passenger vehicle emissions were responsible for $500 million in health costs in Maine in 2015.

The Acadia Center also figures that modernizing and making green Maine’s transportation system would be a boost to the economy. By prioritizing electric cars and buses – and by implementing a vehicle emissions cap-and-trade plan based on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – Maine can raise $1 billion in new wages, create 8,700 long-term jobs and reduce emissions by 45 percent.

Read the full article from the Portland Press Herald here.

State eyes investments in electrifying vehicle fleet

Rep. Roland Lemar, D-New Haven, who co-chairs the Transportation Committee, said lawmakers soon would introduce legislation requiring half of the state’s light-duty fleet, and 30 percent of public transit vehicles, to be electric by 2030.

“We know that’s just the start,” Lemar said, adding that state cooperation with advocates and the private sector would create jobs, boost the economy and improve the environment.

Emily Lewis, a policy analyst with the Acadia Center, said electric vehicles reduce emissions by about 75 percent compared to standard gas vehicles. She called electrifying the state fleet “a good place to start,” noting the state can lead by example and purchase electric vehicles while implementing policies to inspire consumers to do likewise.

Read the full article from The Day here (article may be behind paywall).

A Regional Push to Clean Up Cars, Trucks and Mass Transit

The effort isn’t unprecedented: California already has a plan to curb transportation emissions, and many East Coast states are members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Since 2009, the initiative known as “Reggie” has capped the overall carbon dioxide produced by power plants and required plant operators to buy permits for their emissions.

Power plant emissions have fallen by 51 percent in the region since the program began, according to an analysis of RGGI data by the Acadia Center, an environmental nonprofit with offices in five Northeast states. States have used the permit proceeds to weatherize homes and to give consumers rebates on their electric bills. But the region faces significant hurdles in replicating that reduction with transportation emissions.

Read the full article from Stateline here.

Clean energy advocates push for aggressive electric vehicle roadmap

The Connecticut EV Coalition advocates for solidifying the Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate (CHEAPR) program at least through 2025. The program offers incentives up to $5,000 for state residents who buy or lease a new battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric or fuel cell electric vehicle.

At least 35 vehicles are eligible for the program, and industry leaders say more electric cars — with longer mileage ranges — are coming to dealerships every year. The CHEAPR program is not funded through taxpayer or ratepayer dollars but through merger settlement funds set aside to help the state meet clean energy goals.

“Electrifying and modernizing transportation is key to a consumer-centric clean energy future,” said Emily Lewis, a senior policy analyst at Acadia Center, in a recent statement. “Electric cars and transit buses are healthier, free of tailpipe pollutants, and cheaper to operate.”

Read the full article from The Day here (article may be behind paywall).

Massachusetts’ popular electric vehicle rebates are about to shrink

To reach these ambitious numbers, it is essential to implement measures to help consumers of all income levels go electric, activists said.

“We absolutely need to take new steps to improve access to electric vehicles to low-income residents,” said Mark LeBel, staff attorney at the Acadia Center, a Boston-based nonprofit that promotes the development of clean energy economies.

Offering larger rebates to lower-income buyers and expanding the program to include used vehicles could help achieve this goal, LeBel said. Financing options that offered low or no-interest loans could also be useful, he said.

Read the full article from Energy News Network here.

9 States Target Transportation Emissions with New Cap-and-Trade Plan

“I think they will want to draw on successful precedent, including California, but they also need to work with the communities that they are trying to help in this region,” said Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs director at the Acadia Center, an organization focused on clean energy development in the Northeast.

“Making sure that there is a spot at the table for those communities to weigh in on how this program should be structured and how those benefits can delivered will be hugely important,” Stutt said.

Read the full article from Inside Climate News here.

Electric vehicle advocates urge Connecticut regulators not to forget sector in grid planning

A group of clean-energy proponents are calling on state utility regulators to make sure plans for modernizing the state’s power grid include the necessary components to accommodate the expected increase in use of electric vehicles.

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“EVs are a key piece of Connecticut’s clean energy future, and the state’s utilities can play a role in advancing these vehicles,” said Emily Lewis, senior policy analyst for Acadia Center, a regional environmental group with an office in Connecticut. “Through this grid modernization proceeding, PURA can set the stage for utility engagement that supports EV deployment, protects consumers, and shares the benefits of EVs more equitably.”

Read the full article from the New Haven Register here.

Another fleet of EV chargers approved in Mass.

National Grid can also collect on a performance incentive of $750,000 if 75 percent of the target number of chargers are successfully installed, and $1.2 million for 125 percent of the target. That feature drew criticism from groups including the state attorney general and the Acadia Center, which said the bonuses should be tied to metrics like increased electric vehicle adoption, emissions reductions and reduced costs.

Massachusetts is aiming to get 300,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025, and the number of EV chargers has been ticking steadily upward. As of a year ago, 1,158 Level 2 ports and 128 fast chargers were available, according to the DPU, compared to 963 Level 2 ports and 83 fast chargers in the prior year.

Read the full article from E&E News here (article may be behind paywall).

Tesla, dealers remain at odds as lawmakers urge compromise

Nicholas argued the “existential threats” hypothesized by dealers are overblown. He cited data analyzed by Acadia Center and the U.S. Department of Labor showing dealerships in Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey — states that allow direct sales — haven’t seen job losses at all.

Read the full article from The Day here (article may not be available without subscription).