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News (Archive)

07.27.16

LPO Support for Electric Vehicle Charging

Last week the U.S. Department of Energy's Loan Program Office released a supplement announcement clarifying that the deployment and installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and associated hardware and software may be financed under the Title XVII Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects (REEE) solicitation.  Specifically, the supplement provides that EV charging facilities may be deemed efficient electrical transmission and distribution technologies under the REEE solicitation.  The REEE solicitation currently provides up to $4.5 billion in loan guarantees (for a variety of projects not just EV charging) to support innovative renewable energy and efficient energy projects in the United States. 

Electric vehicles can play an important role in reducing green house gases and meeting the United States dynamic climate goals; however, insufficient charging infrastructure remains an obstacle to growing this industry.

The Loan Program Office Loan guarantees can be an important tool to commercialize innovative technologies because these projects may be unable to obtain full commercial financing due to the perceived risks associated with technology that has never been deployed at commercial scale in the United States. The Department of Energy's Loan Program Office supports a large, diverse portfolio of more than $40 billion in loans, loan guarantees, and commitments to approximately 30 closed and committed projects nationwide, including leading edge renewable energy projects, advanced technology vehicle manufacturing facilities, and other projects.

The front page http://energy.gov/lpo/loan-programs-office includes supplement deadline dates that are listed on the front webpage for the site that range from August 17th to November 30th.

An additional resource of dedicated electric vehicle related content by the Loan Program office can be found on this webpage. The page lists the new supplement and the White House factsheet issued last week summarizing the supplement, among other EV-related announcements. 

07.25.16

All information related to the FAST Act Section 1413 (Designation of Alternative Fuel Corridors), also known as the “Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act”, was released in a PDF format on Friday 7/22 and can be found here.  The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is now requesting nominations from states and local officials to designate national plug-in electric vehicle (EV) charging and hydrogen, propane and natural gas fueling corridors along major highways. The FHWA published a Federal Register Notice  to invite nominations to assist in making such designations.  Nominations for corridor designations are due to FHWA by August 22, 2016.  See the Federal Register Notice for more information. 

It all started on December 4, 2015, when President Obama signed the (FAST) Act into law—the first federal law in over a decade to provide long-term funding certainty for surface transportation infrastructure planning and investment. The FAST Act authorizes $305 billion over fiscal years 2016 through 2020 for highway, highway and motor vehicle safety, public transportation, motor carrier safety, hazardous materials safety, rail, and research, technology, and statistics programs. To find additional information on the 1413 Designation process here.

 

07.13.16

The number of public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in North Carolina will jump 30 percent thanks to a new project from Duke Energy. Duke Energy's "EV Charging Infrastructure Support Project" will provide $1 million to help cities and towns develop public charging stations for residents. Duke Energy will pay 100 percent up to $5,000 per charge port; $20,000 per site, or $50,000 per city under the program. "Over the past decade, Duke Energy has supported the development of several hundred electric vehicle charging stations in North Carolina," said David Fountain, Duke Energy's North Carolina president, "Adoption of EVs depends on a robust infrastructure for consumers."

Duke Energy has been active in building public charging stations at parking decks, libraries and shopping areas. According to Advanced Energy, an independent, non-profit organization established by the North Carolina Utilities Commission, there are about 4,700 registered plug-in EVs and about 700 public charging ports spread out around North Carolina.

Another part of the project is an additional $500,000 devoted to cities and towns for the construction of electric bus charging stations. Again, Duke Energy will pay 100 percent for electric bus charging infrastructure up to $250,000 per entity. The programs are targeted to cities and towns, which include both retail and wholesale customers. Interested parties may apply, but are not obligated to proceed if selected as a recipient. The deadline to apply is Sept. 1. Interested parties can download the public EV charging form here. The bus charging form can be downloaded here.

If you have additional questions about the programs, email PlugIn [at] Duke-Energy [dot] com. The programs are part of a recent settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and environmental groups.

Original article can be found here.

07.12.16

The Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition has been selected to be a part of the Fall/Spring 2016/2017 term of the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities University Workforce Development Program (CCUWDP). This year, CCUWDP is offering up to 20 workforce development program positions across the nation and applications are now available.  This is a wonderful opportunity for students looking to gain experience in the energy and transportation areas. 

Applications can be found at http://www.cvent.com/d/2fqh86  with more information below. Pass this information along to anyone you know who may be interested in one of these positions. The online application process closes on July 17, 2016, so applications and resumes must be submitted by that date.  

  • Up to 20 internships available at competitively-selected U.S. Clean Cities Coalition locations working with dynamic Clean Cities coordinators and their stakeholders
  • Positions are 15 or 20 hours per week (determined by the coalition) for 14 weeks each semester
  • Internship dates: approximately September 6, 2016 through April 28, 2017. Exact start/end dates determined by individual coalitions
  • Stipends range from $2,500 - $4,200 per semester depending on academic classification and number of hours assigned by the coalition.

The Clean Cities internship will give students studying communications, public relations, business, marketing, engineering or environmental sciences, the opportunity to grow public awareness and expand the markets of advanced vehicle technologies, alternative fuels, and practices that reduce the consumption of petroleum.Students have participated in research, outreach activities, public education, K-12 outreach, fleet events, and a vast array of transportation-related environmental projects.

 Many internships have led to permanent positions!

Questions? Email: CleanCitiesIntern [at] anl [dot] gov

06.29.16

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center at NC State University and The 100 Best Fleets hosted a webinar on Tuesday 6/28 featuring fleet managers from a few of the top fleets that were judged best out of 38,000 Public Fleets in the 2016 Edition of The 100 Best Fleets. If you were unable to attend, we have documented the highlights to share their practices that you can apply to your own operations moving forward. Continue reading to learn more need-to-know information and practical solutions to the biggest of fleet challenges. 

Ranked #3 Fleet Manager Thomas Kuryla- Wake County Raleigh, NC

Tip 1) Get an outside source. This is necessary to see what areas your fleet can best improve on. Wake County hired a 3rd party consultant to conduct a Market Study to evaluate their fleet and compare their own systems to the larger market and industry entities. Kuryla claimed this was crucial in justifying what needed improvement and finding support from management moving forward. 

Tip 2) Stricter anti-idling policies. Implementing these policies will help ensure accountability of fleet assets. Wake County employees are trained on why it is important to not eat lunch in an idling car or the harm of waiting for the heat/air conditioning to fix the internal environment of a vehicle for large periods of time. Not only did Kuryla help reduce his fleets emissions, he improved employee safety and reduced wasted fuel.  

Tip 3) Update your fleet information system. Kuryla believed having a transparent fleet information system that went from being at a fleet only scale to a county system dramatically improved Wake County’s accountability. Additionally, the creation of a Fleet Advisory Committee opened the door for customer involvement in the fleet and helped employees better evaluate and prioritize requests. 

Ranked #2 Fleet Manager Robert Gordon- DeKalb County, GA

Tip 1) Divide your fleet. Gordon believes that by dividing his fleet into a total of six divisions rather than one huge clump in which a diverse array of vehicles travel in and out the door he has allowed room for people to become much more specialized. The direct byproduct of this change has increased fleet efficiency. Examples of divisions include heavy truck, fire shop and body shop.  

Tip 2) Quality control. Quality control. Quality control. Throughout his presentation, Gordon strongly expressed the importance of implementing an aggressive training program to ensure employees are equally adequate in their skills. Understanding what one’s employees’ strengths and weaknesses are in order capitalize on those weaknesses to train towards evolving them into strengths is essential. Additionally, whenever the DeKalb County fleet is preparing to purchase new vehicles they request that the vendor send a company employee to come out and host a training workshop to educate his people on the vehicle. This prevents the risk of employee knowledge disparities moving forward. 

Tip 3) Build a recruiting committee. This allows a group to focus on employing skilled individuals and filling in labor gaps. For example, Gordon discussed the strategy of reaching out to local secondary technical schools and attending career days to seek out potential candidates for future hiring waves. This helps Gordon’s fleet communicate with these centers of education as to what they are looking students to know for the job. Secondly, Gordon’s fleet has begun to recruit from the military to employ well trained truck technicians that are often hard to come by in the industry. 

Ranked #1 Fleet Manager Peter Bendar- County of Ventura, CA

Tip 1) Have a diverse fleet. Bendar’s fleet is composed of everything from EV’s and PHEV vehicles to hybrids. 

Tip 2) Leaders be a captain. Fleet leaders need to be take the role as captain of their fleet. Do not be afraid to engage the team. Increasing employee engagement is critical to succeeding. Additionally, every year Bendar gives the updated version of 100 Best Fleets Book to his employees as a reference guide to view practices that are being used around the nation. This booklet also serves as a tool to compare measurable outcomes with neighboring fleets.

Tip 3) Do NOT be afraid of change. It is wise to discuss challenges with your team. Inviting a problem solving environment to grow not only increases employee engagement but generates fresh perspectives on how to solve existing problems. Bendar stressed the importance of thinking of your fleet as a business and what steps one needs to take to remain competitive. Embrace change, new ideas and help nurture future leaders by supporting a think tank like culture. 

06.16.16

 

Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition Invited to “Re-Envision” Department Of Energy Program at NREL

On May 24, 2016, Charlotte Region transportation planners and Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition (CCFC) representatives Jason Wager of the Centralina Council of Governments and Jason Lawrence of Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) attended a workshop at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden, CO.  Also invited were officials from the U.S. Department of Energy and several of its Laboratories, Clean Cities Coordinators, and planning and energy leaders from regions spanning the country.  

A focus of this event was the changing landscape of transportation.  This included emerging transportation technologies, barriers and opportunities related to efficient and effective transportation, and how each of us play a role in our communities in forming the partnerships that will roll out the expected changes to how we move people and goods in the future.  As our population continues to grow, local governments will be a key collaborator in helping to deploy new solutions to address congestion, safety, and reliability of the transportation system.  In addition, attendees pointed out the need to also keep in mind energy efficiency and creating the least amount of disruption to our residents.  

Current and Past Initiatives Getting Attention

This invitation spotlights several local efforts that caught the eye of workshop planners and points out that, while we have much to do, we are on the right track.  Local initiatives include:

1. Smart Cities Proposal – The City of Charlotte’s recent application to the US DOT Smart Cities competition highlighted our region’s interest in tackling significant issues like first mile/last mile connection, navigating transportation options, environmental issues exacerbated by congestion, productivity loss/decreased quality of life due to congestion, and improving the economic mobility of its lower income residents, each of which can involve deployment of emerging transportation technologies.  CATS’ role and knowledge in this arena specifically is noted as critical to understanding what future transportation efforts must address;

2. Charlotte Regional Alliance For Transportation (CRAFT) – Recently CCFC staff were asked to present to a gathering of the six (6) transportation planning organizations in the greater Charlotte region on the topic of Connected and Automated Vehicles and how the emergence of these technologies should be addressed in our long range planning documents and discussions;

3. Plug-in Electric Vehicle Readiness Planning –The “Plugging in from Mountains to Sea” statewide planning project, with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program through the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition, initiated a systematic approach to accommodating electric vehicles and fueling infrastructure which are expected to be key components of the future of mobility;

4. Innovation Corridors –A systematic approach to promoting economic development along key transportation corridors designated as part of the CONNECT Regional Growth Framework. This concept explores the potential to unify place making, economic development/innovation hubs, and transit, allowing communities to promote public transit and high-performance broadband coordinated with transit-oriented housing, commercial development and important public services and institutions, including education;

5. Regional Freight Mobility Plan – This plan will serve urban, suburban, and rural areas of the region by aiding in the understanding of current and future levels of freight network activity, defining feasible solutions supported by the private sector, identifying new technologies to improve freight flow and attract new businesses to the region, and guiding the region’s investments in freight infrastructure.

What’s Next?

The Department of Energy forecasts that a re-envisioned Clean Cities program will be rolled out by this fall, following additional stakeholder engagement events in Washington DC this summer.  Fortunately, our region appears to be well poised to take advantage of what will no doubt be a program focused on the future of transportation and that intentionally integrates efforts across the U.S. Departments of Energy, Transportation, and others.  


About Clean Cities and the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition

The Clean Cities program, represented in the Charlotte region by the CCFC, is a national network of local coalitions focused on advancing the nation’s economic, environmental, and energy security.  Local stakeholders serve as the foundation of Clean Cities by working to cut petroleum use in their communities, through the deployment of technologies, alternative fuels and vehicles, and targeted programs.  Stakeholders include private businesses, fuel providers, vehicle fleets, state and local government agencies, and community organizations.  They support each other in providing information and resources, informing public policy, educating the public, and collaborating on transportation projects.  For more information on Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition, visit their website at www.4cleanfuels.com, and to learn more about the national Clean Cities program visit the website at http://www1.eere.energy.gov/cleancities/

06.15.16

 

The Southeast Alternative Fuels Demonstration Initiative hosted an alternative fuel vehicle display outside of the Centralina Council of Governments board meeting location at Tyvola Senior Center in May. As member delegates walked in they were educated on AFV's through interaction. 

06.13.16

Left to right: Jeff Miller, Town of Matthews Commissioner, Michael Johnson, Centralina COG Chair and City of Statesville Mayor Pro-Tem, Chris Facente, Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition Vice-Chairman and Automotive Supervisor at UNC Charlotte, and Jason Wager, Coordinator Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition and Planning Program Supervisor, Centralina Council of Governments

The 2016 Clean Cities Region of Excellence Award is presented to the Town of Matthews for demonstrating leadership and excellence in clean transportation and fuel activities. Matthews has recognized the environmental, economic, and national security benefits of reducing consumption of fossil fuels and has implemented programs and initiatives to lower their use of traditional transportation fuels.  The Town of Matthews installation of Electric Vehicle Fast Charging equipment in its downtown, available to the public and growing number of electric vehicle owners on the road, exemplifies Clean Cities’ mission and goals.

The Town of Matthews celebrated the installation and opening of a region-first Direct Current Fast Charger (DCFC) for Plug-in Electric Vehicles in its downtown.  The Town decided early on that the installation of this charging equipment for environmentally minded consumers could both attract visitors to its downtown and establish the community as progressive.  Ultimately, PEV owners are now able to fully charge a typical vehicle in about 30 minutes at a cost of about $6; ideally, spending that time in exploring the shops of Downtown Matthews.  Since installation, over 65 charge events have taken place and with well over 300,000 plug-in vehicles sold nationally, the usage of this charger is only expected to accelerate as the market rapidly grows.  In addition to providing local match including leasing out the physical location for the DCFC equipment, the Town was able to partner with several other organizations to make this DCFC possible including:

  • NC DOT and NC Clean Energy Technology Center – source of Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant funds
  • Brightfield Transportation Solutions - received and implemented the project award
  • Nissan - provided the actual DCFC unit as grant match ( a $33,000 value)
  • BMW - funded additional cord and receptacle equipment
  • Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition and the NC PEV Task Force - outreach and partnership/funding development

Given that each year in the US we burn roughly 121 billion gallons of oil in our passenger cars and trucks, the Town of Matthews is doing its part by supporting a switch to plug-in electric vehicles.  There efforts help to improve America’s energy independence and mitigate the health effects of dangerous air pollution.

A congratulations and a thank you goes out to the Town of Matthews, for taking big steps forward in reducing petroleum dependence in unique ways that reduce costs and improve quality of life for their community.

 

06.09.16

 

APPLY NOW for GRADE for FREIGHT

Grants to Replace Aging Diesel Engines (GRADE) 

$500,000 Available Until July 31, 2016


 $500,000 in funding is available from ​​GRADE for Freight! Mecklenburg County Air Quality (MCAQ) will award sub-grants of up to 50% of the cost to replace older diesel-powered freight vehicles and equipment with newer cleaner-operating equipment. 

Eligible diesel vehicles and equipment operate at goods movement facilities such as rail terminals, airports, and distribution centers.  Equipment must operate at least 75% of time in Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Union (NC), and York (SC) counties. MCAQ will be hosting opportunities to learn more and access help with informational sessions at their Charlotte location. To find more information on the grant application click here.

INFORMATION SESSION: June 14, 2:00-2:30 PM

DROP-IN APPLICATION SESSION: July 12, 2:00-3:00 PM and July 20, 9:00-10:00 AM

 In 2007, Mecklenburg County Air Quality initiated an air pollution control program called Grants to Replace Aging Diesel Engines or GRADE.  GRADE is designed to reduce oxides of nitrogen (NOx), an ozone forming air pollutant, by providing businesses and organizations funding incentives to replace or repower heavy-duty non-road equipment with newer, cleaner, less polluting engines.

Since 2007, GRADE has funded a total of 282 projects and awarded $5.09 million. These projects have reduced 489 tons of ozone-forming NOx in the Charlotte region. The grant application can be found here

Blurry Cars

06.01.16

This website and program (http://altfueltoolkit.org/), supported in part by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, is a pooled fund initiative led by the Oregon Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration to assist state and local transportation agencies interested in promoting the use of alternative fuel vehicle technologies. 

Through this initiative, an AFV Planning Guide has been developed that helps transportation agencies create a plan for deploying AFVs. AFV Toolkits can also be accessed at the site, and are based on workshops held in 2015-2016 with AFV stakeholders on topics that include EV Corridor Development and Innovative Financing methods.

Centralina Council of Governments
9815 David Taylor Drive
Charlotte, NC 28262

Part of the U.S.
DOE Clean Cities
National Network