Pablo Preciado joined the team Wednesday as our newest intern with the Clean Fuels Coalition. Pablo is from Guadalajara, Mexico, and is pursuing a double-degree in International Business and German with a Minor in Economics at UNC-Charlotte. He just finished up almost a year of interning in Germany and studying abroad in Denmark where he was able to take advantage of the unique learning opportunities there, working with electric mobility, exploring different urban designs, and navigating through efficient transportation systems. Please take a moment to welcome him when you see him!
A special congratulations to our stakeholders that were recognized last Friday for their contributions to the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition this year! All of your hard work has been noticed and we look forward to continuing work with you in the new year! Recognized members included our sponsors: UPS and PSNC; UNC Charlotte and UNCC's Energy and Infrastructure Production Center; Central Piedmont Community College; Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools; Excel Truck Group; Nissan; Duke Energy; Mecklenburg County Air Quality; City of Charlotte; Gaston County; and Piedmont Natural Gas. And a big thank you to all our stakeholders; you are the reason we are able to help our region reduce petroleum usage! See the flyer here for all the awardees! In addition, a special congratulations to Gaston County for their propane fleet initiative that won the Clean Cities award at CCOG's 50th Anniversary Region of Excellence Awards Luncheon.
Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition was proud to represent our region at the annual Clean Cities training workshop held November 6-8th in Cocoa Beach, Florida. This annual training is an opportunity for coordinators and staff of Clean Cities coalitions across the country to get together in order to learn from each other, trade best practices and collaboratively work together on problems facing multiple coalitions.
While there, Centralina was honored to be presented with the "Autonomous Vehicle Pioneers" award for our workshops and task force regarding Autonomous and Connected Vehicles as well as seeing Jason Wager, our very own coordinator, inducted into the Clean Cities Hall of Fame! We are so pleased to be award recipients but realize it is all thanks to our stakeholders who are able to help us make a difference in reducing petroleum usage!
Bonus points if you can spot Jason and Carina in the group photo!
The 2018 National Drive Electric Week event was a great success. A special thanks to the City of Charlotte for partnering with the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition as co-hosts this year. While Hurricane Florence approached, the weather held out to accommodate our audience of about 125. Everyone from members of the public strolling by to City of Charlotte department heads were able to come out and engage electric vehicle owners and transportation options table vendors. A special thanks to ChargePoint, who sponsored the first 55 free popsicles from King of Pops to attendees. The audience had electric vehicles to view, popsicles to munch on, a great band from the city as well as supported vendors from all aspects of sustainability and green transportation options. We had great diversity in the vehicle showings: the new 2018 Nissan LEAF, Fiat 500e, Chevy Volt, Teslas S and X, Chevy Spark EV, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, an electric utility car from Carolina Golf Cars, the Toyota Prius Prime and others.
A big thanks to the greater Charlotte community for coming out to recognize that electric vehicles (and hybrids!) are an efficient form of transportation that can benefit not just owners, but communities as well through mobility management, a reduction in the use of petroleum and a cleaner environment!
Photo by: Kiyara Hill, Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition
(L to R) Electric utility vehicle from Carolina Golf Cars, courtesy of Barrett Kittrell; 2017 Tesla Model S owned by Banks Baker; and a new Chevy Volt owned by the City of Charlotte.
Meet Our Intern!
Kiyara Hill is our newest intern here at Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition. Kiyara is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, currently working towards getting her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Kiyara’s passion involves working towards making electric and hybrid vehicles more affordable and accessible, rather than the traditional internal combustion engine. Her dream job involves working as a Design Engineer for Tesla. A little later down the road, Kiyara hopes to own her very own automobile manufacturing company that specializes in making efficient and affordable electric vehicles. In Kiyara’s spare time she is usually playing guitar, watching or playing sports, or learning how to code! She is extremely excited to join us at Centralina Council of Governments and looks forward to helping us promote ways to improve quality of life for our community!
Grants to Replace Aging Diesel Engines Funding Still Available
Mecklenburg County Air Quality is still offering their Grant to Replace Aging Diesel Engines again! The goal of GRADE is to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution from diesel vehicles operating within the Charlotte region. Both non-road diesel and heavy-duty diesel on road vehicles are eligible to apply to have aging diesel engines replaced. GRADE is a reimbursement grant, meaning award recipients will be reimbursed for approved expenses after the project has been completed. There is $694,000 available with rebates of up to 25% of the cost of new vehicles or equipment.
Applications are due by 5pm on November 2, 2018.
For vehicle qualifications & application, please visit: www.GRADEplus.net
NC Submits VW Settlement Phase 1 Plan
NC has submitted its plan for the state's share of VW Settlement money. The Volkswagen Mitigation Plan details how the state will invest the first 33% of the funds in Phase 1 on projects to significantly reduce NOx emissions and improve air quality.
The Phase 1 plan includes:
- 40% (approx. $12.2 million) to be spent on school bus replacements
- 20% (approx. $6 million) designated for transit bus replacements
- 10% for heavy-duty on-road equipment replacement projects
- 10% for heavy-duty off-road equipment replacement projects
Phase 1 funding will focus on public sector needs. Eligible projects can be submitted by local, state and tribal government organizations, public or private nonprofit organizations, and public/private partnerships where the lead applicant represents a public sector or a public or private non-profit.
Based on feedback from the public, North Carolina will also allocate the maximum allowance of 15% of the funds toward zero emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure projects. Public and private sector projects will be eligible for the approximately $4.6 million available in Phase 1.
Once the plan is accepted by the trustee of the Volkswagen Mitigation Fund, the Division of Air Quality will put out a request for proposals. At that point, eligible organizations can submit their projects with selections scheduled for Spring/Summer of 2019. Beginning in Fall of 2019, DAQ will provide opportunities for public involvement on the draft plan for Phase 2.
For a copy of the plan, and more information about the Volkswagen Settlement, visit https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/air-quality/motor-vehicles-and-air-quality/volkswagen-settlement. You can also contact Carina Soriano at csoriano [at] centralina [dot] org with questions.
2018 Request for Proposals for the Diesel Emissions Reductions Act (DERA) Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program is now open!
The EPA is anticipating about $40 million in grant funding to be made available for projects that achieve signficant reductions in diesel emissions in terms of tons of pollution produced and exposure, particularly from fleetts operating in areas designated by the EPA as poor air quality areas.
Proposals must be submitted electronically to the EPA through https://www.grants.gov/ by June 12th at 11:59pm to be considered.
Request for Proposals (RFP) opens: Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Information Session (Webinar #1): Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Information Session (Webinar #2): Thursday, May 3, 2018
Deadline for Proposals: Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Notification of Selected Applicants: July 2018
Funding of Awards: September-November, 2018
For more information about Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Information Sessions, please join the webinars below:
Webinar 1- Tuesday, May 1, 2018, 2-3:30pm (ET): https://epawebconferencing.acms.com/dera18a/
Conference Number: 1 (202) 991-0477
Participant code: 4149804#
Webinar 2- Thursday, May 3, 2018, 3-4:30pm (ET): https://epawebconferencing.acms.com/dera18b/
Conference Number: 1 (202) 991-0477
Participant code: 4149804#
Additional information can be found on the EPA's Clean Diesel Page.
NC Division of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has just announced that they are to begin holding a series of information session on the proposed plan for NC's portion of the VW Settlement funds. In anticipation, they have released the Draft State Mitigation Plan that outlines a proposal to invest the first phase of the state's $92 million into projects aimed at reducing pollution impacts from diesel emissions. Comments from the public are welcome on this plan through May 3, 2018. The DEQ used public feedback to develop this plan and it will be further refined based on public comment. The final plan will be submitted to the trustee this summer, with a request for proposals to follow in the fall.
The Centralina region's meeting will be held Tuesday, March 27 from 3-5pm at the Kannapolis Train Station, in the Multipurpose Room, 201 S. Main St., Kannapolis. Members of the public and entities interested in receiving funds for eligible projects are encouraged to attend.
In addition there will be four other meetings in the state that can be found below.
7-9 p.m. Monday, March 26: Land-of-Sky Regional Council, 339 New Leicester Highway., Suite 140, Asheville
5-7 p.m. Monday, April 16: Lenoir Community College, Bullock Building, Room 150, Kinston
1-3 p.m. Tuesday, April 17: Triangle J Council of Governments, 4307 Emperor Blvd., Suite 110, Durham
9-11 a.m. Friday, April 20: Cape Fear Community College, Union Station, Room 512, 502 N. Front St., Wilmington
For more information about the Volkswagen Settlement, visit https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/air-quality/motor-vehicles-and-air-quality/volkswagen-settlement or contact Jason Wager or Carina Soriano at jwager [at] centralina [dot] org, 704-348-2707 or csoriano@centralina, 704-688-7035.
Governor Cooper has officially appointed the Department of Environmental Quality (DAQ/DEQ) as the lead agency for NC in managing the $92 million the state will receive. This money comes from settlement of a lawsuit against the German automaker producing certain diesel vehicles with devices that meant emissions did not meet EPA standards. The money is earmarked to remove the polluting vehicles sold by VW from the road and contribute to air quality improvement programs. The announcement made included the invitation for public input regarding what the state should include in its mitigation plan.Your comments will help shape how these funds are spent in North Carolina. Public input is available until December 31st at https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/air-quality/motor-vehicles-and-air-quality/volkswagen-settlement/volkswagen. A website was also launched in coordination with the appointment and can be found here: https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/air-quality/motor-vehicles-and-air-quality/volkswagen-settlement.
If you would like more information about this settlement and how to be involved in this conversation in our region, please contact Jason Wager at jwager [at] centralina [dot] org or 704-348-2707.