2 Environmental Wins Conclude the Year
2020 is a year most of us will be happy to see in the rearview mirror. But the last couple of weeks have brought two wins that deserve to be celebrated.
Transportation Climate Initiative
Governor Lamont signed the Transportation Climate Initiative Memorandum of Understanding today, December 21. TCI is a cap and invest program that will place a tax on fossil fuel at the wholesale level that will yield funds for the state to invest in clean transportation. It is anticipated that $89 million could flow to the state in 2023, rising to $117 million in 2032 with a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 26%. The program is similar in overall design to the RGGI cap and invest program that has been in place for power plants. The TCI iteration is more complex in that there are many more point sources of pollution. The reason the funds are not anticipated until 2023 is that there is still a considerable amount of rulemaking that has yet to occur. For a thorough piece of reporting on this, see this article in the CT Mirror.
Monetizable Credits for EV Charging Stations
The second piece of good news is that the CT Green Bank has established a carbon credit monetization program for the owners of EV charging stations. This is not for residential owners. It is for businesses or other entities that control dozens or hundreds of charging stations. Details here.
We have been closely following the CHEAPR saga, the year-long and still unresolved effort to revise program parameters, and have been publishing monthly program status from the CHEAPR dataset. It is anticipated that the board will vote on this reasonably soon.
2020 started off with one of the best-attended events in the club’s history when Westport Police Chief, Foti Koskinas, brought the fully customized Tesla Model 3 cruiser to a club meeting in February. After that, the pandemic lockdown threw sand in the gears of our event planning, though we still managed to hold 2 socially distanced outdoor events. The first was a fully-subscribed EV parade, held in partnership with Sustainable Fairfield, during National Drive Electric Week. The second was a test-drive event of the Polestar 2 BEV and the Polestar 1 PHEV.
There are a number of new EV introductions anticipated for 2021 and we hope to preview some of these for members. One thing that we can tease is a tentatively scheduled mid-year test-drive event for the new Aptera EV, a 3-wheeled vehicle with fully integrated solar and the lowest drag coefficient of any vehicle, the top trim level has an electric range of 1,000 miles for about $46,000.
As we were forced to move into Zoom mode to hold events, we lined up several speakers. We had Gabe Shenhar from Consumer Reports give us a detailed, early preview of his Tesla Model Y test-drive. Peter Millman spoke to us about Community Choice Aggregation, and John Erdman of FreeWire spoke about their charging solution with a self-contained battery that allows DCFC high-speed charging while avoiding demand charges.
We continued with our tracking of EV adoption levels in the state, which is published to the website via the Interactive EV Dashboard. This is the only publicly available, free-of-charge, resource for this level of detail that we are aware of. We also submitted an information request to obtain CHEAPR rebates by dealership. We have had numerous requests for dealership recommendations and this was our way of responding to this using quantifiable data that applies statewide.
The club continues to present to interested organizations, participate on panels, respond to media requests, and publish opinion pieces, in the latter case with Op-Eds in The Hartford Courant, The Hartford Business Journal, and CT News Junkie.
As we gradually emerge from this pandemic cocoon, we look forward to a more active year in 2021. We have a speaker on January 14th who will be discussing a federal carbon tax proposal. You may ask how this intersects with TCI and that is one of our questions.
Best wishes for a safe and healthy holiday season!