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.
That infrastructure is “certainly a region-wide priority,” said Mark Lebel, staff attorney at the Acadia Center, a clean energy nonprofit with offices across the Northeast. “Many of the plans are still in development, and they’ll have to solicit public comment, but there’s great interest in maximizing use of the 15 percent,” said Kathy Kinsey, a senior policy adviser at NESCAUM, a nonprofit association of air quality agencies in the Northeast.
Read the full article from the New Hampshire Business Review here.
BOSTON – Last night, the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill to support electric vehicles (EVs), helping to advance the Commonwealth’s goals of reducing climate pollution and promoting clean energy.
Daniel Sosland, President of Acadia Center, said, “Vehicle electrification and moving away from transportation that runs on dirty oil is crucial to attaining an energy future that offers consumers cleaner choices. Acadia Center is very pleased that the Massachusetts legislature has moved this bill forward and would like to thank leadership in the House and Senate as well as the original bill sponsors who have worked so hard to get this done.”
The bill contains a number of measures to help accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, including:
Permission for cities and towns to enforce EV-only parking
Requirements for public access to public charging stations
Amendments to building codes to facilitate EV charging
Codification of an existing Department of Public Utilities order regarding utility proposals to invest in EV charging infrastructure
Studies of key long-term issues: (1) electrification of the state fleet and (2) measures to achieve sustainable transportation funding
Peter Shattuck, Acadia Center’s Massachusetts Director, said “This bill will complement other steps that the Commonwealth has taken over the last few years to promote vehicle electrification, including the recent commitment by the Baker Administration of $14 million to the successful “MOR-EV” consumer rebate program. These steps are crucial for reducing GHG emissions from the transportation sector and build on steps to clean up the electric power sector and broader Massachusetts economy.”
Mark LeBel, Staff Attorney at Acadia Center, said: “The provision in this bill to allow utility investment in charging station infrastructure primarily codifies language from an existing Department of Public Utilities order. The specifics of utility proposals will be important to determine whether the three statutory criteria for approval are met. The proposals must be in the public interest, meet a need regarding the advancement of EVs, and must not hinder the development of a competitive EV charging market. To implement these criteria, allocation of costs to ratepayers must be justified by significant benefits, customer choice must be preserved, and the proper role of the utility must be carefully considered. These important issues are currently being debated across the country, and Acadia Center looks forward to participating in proceedings examining utility proposals in the near future.”
In the coming year, vehicles powered by fuel cells are expected to come to market in the United States, first in California and subsequently in other regions. Fuel cells are a technology that uses hydrogen to generate electricity. A fuel cell vehicle (FCV) uses this electricity to run the motor. FCVs have environmental benefits because they emit no local pollutants and the only direct by-product is water. However, the production of hydrogen can result in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These emissions must be evaluated to understand how compatible they are with New England’s short-term and long-term GHG reduction targets (80% by 2050).
Hydrogen from Fossil Fuels or Renewables?
The most economical method for producing hydrogen today is steam reforming of methane. In this process, a byproduct of the hydrogen production is carbon dioxide–a greenhouse gas. In addition, there can be GHG emissions associated with the energy source used to create the steam, such as the combustion of fossil fuels. Chart 1 (below) shows the GHG emissions from a FCV using hydrogen derived from a steam reforming process that combusts natural gas as the energy source. These emissions are compared with a battery electric vehicle and a plug-in hybrid using the electricity grid mix in New England along with a traditional gasoline vehicle. This shows that a FCV can have 39% fewer GHG emissions than a gasoline vehicle, while a battery electric vehicle typically has 60% fewer GHG emissions than a gasoline vehicle. Cleaner methods of hydrogen production do exist. One common method—electrolysis–uses electricity to split a water molecule and produces only hydrogen and oxygen as a byproduct. This method has zero process emissions and, just like electric vehicles, the electricity used can be renewable, with zero GHG emissions.
Ensuring FCVs Integrate into a Clean Energy Future.
The key question is how to ensure that hydrogen production uses cleaner methods in a manner consistent with our GHG targets. In New England, our pre-dominant transportation fuels are not covered by a greenhouse gas policy. Policy solutions do exist across the country: California is now covering all sectors of the economy with a cap-and-trade program, including transportation. That state has specific requirements for hydrogen from renewable sources and encourages cleaner hydrogen with the Low Carbon Fuel Standard. New England states should adopt an appropriate combination of these policies to integrate FCVs into our clean energy future and ensure that our short-term and long-term GHG goals are met.
Acadia Center announced that a coalition of 67 businesses and organizations, including utilities, other private companies, business groups, electric vehicle advocacy groups, and environmental groups, urges the Governors and Governors-Elect in the eleven Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states to make policies that support electric vehicles (EVs) a top priority for their administrations going forward