• info@lonestarcfa.org

: Category One

LSCFA has New Leadership

On June 30th, Stacy Neef retired after 16 years as the Lone Star Clean Fuels Alliance (formerly Central Texas Clean Cities) Executive Director.  While Stacy will be available to work with LSCFA on special assignments, she  will be spending more time riding her horses in competitions, with her grandchildren and traveling.

The “new”  Lone Star Clean Fuels Alliance team consists of Elizabeth Munger, Executive Director and Judy Fort, Financial Manager.

Elizabeth Munger,
Executive Director

Elizabeth began in the Alt Fuels area when she became the first Coordinator of the Laredo Clean Cities Coalition in 1995.  Her career in the Alt Fuels industry continued as she worked on a DOE Clean Corridor project for the CLEAN Air Force, and worked for a nationally known AFV consulting firm in Texas and California.  In 2001, she started The Green Group.  As managing director, she has worked on a variety of projects including a 15 year stint for a major auto manufacturer selling natural gas vehicles to fleet customers as well as marketing electric and hydrogen vehicles. Additionally she has assisted utilities, industry organizations and individual clients with business development and marketing research for a variety of products, services and concepts. She has a BS in business from Roger Williams College and an MBA from the University of Rhode Island.

Judy Fort,
Financial Manager

Judy signed on as Finance Director with Lone Star Clean Fuels in early 2016. Her role has steadily increased to include not only financial management but budgeting, grant management and reporting, and multiple administrative tasks designed to strengthen and formalize the Coalition. Judy has extensive experience in economic development, business development, nonprofits, financial management, customer service, marketing, training and outreach gained through her career working for the State of Texas. Following her time with the State she has provided financial and business development services to small businesses and nonprofits including QuickBooks setup and website/brochure design and photography. She holds a BBA in International Business and Finance from the University of Texas at Austin and a certificate from the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma.

With Board of Directors support, both Judy and Elizabeth are getting to know existing members and stakeholders, developing a wider membership and partner base, holding stakeholder meetings and other networking events and identifying potential projects and funding sources for the Coalition.

TCEQ Announces New Round of Grants for Alternative Fuel and/or Natural Gas Fueling Stations

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality announced today that up to $6 million dollars in grants is being made available to eligible individuals, businesses, and governmental entities to continue the development of a network of natural gas and/or other alternative fuel fueling stations to serve as a foundation for a self-sustaining market for alternative fuel vehicles in Texas.

The Alternative Fueling Facilities Program (AFFP) grants are part of the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan, and are offered to eligible entities that intend to build, own, and operate alternative fuel and/or natural gas fueling stations in the Clean Transportation Zone. Effective September 1, 2017, the Texas Health and Safety Code (THSC) Chapters 393 and 394 were amended to combine the AFFP and the Clean Transportation Triangle (CTT) programs.

AFFP grants offset a portion of the cost of either the construction of new facilities dispensing natural gas and/or alternative fuels, or the expansion of existing facilities to provide new services or capabilities. Eligible fuels for the AFFP include compressed natural gas (CNG) and/or liquefied natural gas (LNG); biodiesel; hydrogen; methanol; propane (LPG); and electricity.

Applications will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. CSTTuesday, January 16, 2018.

The TCEQ has scheduled eight AFFP grant application workshops to review the grant requirements and the application process. Please RSVP to Camen Gupta, Program Coordinator, at camen.gupta@tceq.texas.gov.

EL PASO:

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 1, 2017
1:00 p.m.
Rio Grande Council of Governments (Main Conference Room)
8037 Lockheed Drive, Suite 100
El Paso, Texas 79925

• TYLER:

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 8, 2017
9:00 a.m.
TCEQ Region 5 Office, Large Conference Room
2916 Teague Dr.
Tyler, Texas 75701

ARLINGTON:

THURSDAY, NOV. 9, 2017
9 a.m.
North Central Texas Council of Governments
616 Six Flags Drive
Arlington, TX 76011

LAREDO:

TUESDAY, NOV. 14, 2017
9 a.m.
Laredo Chamber of Commerce, Boardroom
2310 San Bernardo Ave.
Laredo, Texas 78040

CORPUS CHRISTI:

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 15, 2017
9 a.m.
Coastal Bend COG, Large Conference Room
2910 Leopard Street
Corpus Christi, Texas 78408

SAN ANTONIO:

MONDAY, NOV. 20, 2017
9 a.m.
8700 Tesoro Drive
San Antonio, Texas 78217

AUSTIN:

TUESDAY, NOV. 21, 2017
9 a.m.
TCEQ’s Austin Office
Building E, 2nd Floor, Room 254S
12100 Park 35 Circle, Austin, TX 78753

HOUSTON:

TUESDAY, NOV. 28, 2017
9 a.m.
Houston-Galveston Area Council, Conference Room A
3555 Timmons, Suite 120
Houston, TX 77027

For more information on the grant programs and to access up-to-date information on the application criteria and process, specific geographic eligibility requirements, and copies of the application form, visit www.terpgrants.org or call 800-919-TERP (8377).

Fuels Fix Summer 2017 Issue is Available

Texas Lawmakers Authorize Legislation To Keep Emissions Reduction Plan Alive

AUSTIN, Texas — The 85th Legislature gave all Texans a surprising bit of good news when they extended the programs for the Texas Emissions Reduction Program (TERP), which was set to expire in 2019.

TERP is the second largest air pollution reduction program in Texas, and since its inception in 2001 it has become the most cost-effective way to reduce air pollution in the state.

Only hours before the final deadline to pass a “Conference Committee Report,” the Texas Legislature approved SB 1731, which included an amendment to reform and expand TERP. In response, the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, Public Citizen and Environmental Defense Fund — who have supported and worked with legislators and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality since 2001 on TERP implementation — praised lawmakers for their efforts, but issued a warning: the Legislature must actually appropriate the money now.

“We salute the Texas Legislature for extending and expanding TERP programs so that Texas actually complies with EPA’s health-based standards for ozone pollution in our major cities,” noted Cyrus Reed, Conservation Director of the Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter. “However, the Legislature failed to extend the fees that pay for the program, and the budget bill actually cut appropriations for TERP by some $80 million over two years, subject to a possible adjustment by the Legislative Budget Board. This will need to be fixed for the program to work as it should.”

Recent polling has found that TERP has strong support in Houston, where air pollution is a constant problem. “We’re glad that the Legislature responded to the concerns of Houstonians,” said Adrian Shelley, director of the Public Citizen Texas office. “One of the major improvements for TERP under SB 1731 is the provision to allow more money to be spent in rail yards and port yards, where we have the greatest air pollution concentrations,” he added.

“We’re pleased that TERP has been extended and now includes modifications that will allow more cost-effective projects at ports,” said Christina Wolfe, Manager, Air Quality, Port and Freight Facilities at the Texas office of the Environmental Defense Fund. “There is plenty of work ahead of us to ensure that all Texans breathe healthy air, so we appreciate the Texas Legislature taking this first step in recognizing the importance of TERP. Now we need them to ensure the programs are funded.”

The bill to extend and expand the program had a somewhat tortured history. After passing the Senate early in the session, SB 26 by Craig Estes (R- Wichita Falls) was then referred to the House Committee on Environmental Regulation. There, clean air advocates — which included environmental groups like EDF, Sierra Club and Public Citizen, and industry groups like the Texas Chemical Council, the Texas Association of Business and electric utilities — worked with Chairman Joe Pickett (D – El Paso), Rep. Brooks Landgraf (D-Odessa), Rep. Ron Reynolds (D-Houston) and Rep. Tony Dale (R- Round Rock) to craft a revised version of SB 26, which put more emphasis on the most cost-effective programs, including the revised Seaport and Rail Yards program to clean up pollution from equipment at our ports and railyards.

However, the House version of SB 26 was put late on the calendar and the House of Representatives did not get to the bill when the deadine of midnight occurred on May 23rd. Then, versions of SB 26 were added to three other bills as amendments, though two of them were not taken up. Finally, on May 29th, at approximately 9:30 PM, both houses passed the TERP bill as part of SB 1731 by Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) and Rep. Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas).

While the groups behind the TERP legislation were happy with the passage SB 1731, some last-minute confusion on the budget made it unclear how much TERP is actually funded for the next two years. During last-minute budget negotiations, TERP funding was cut from approximately $118 million per year to $78 million per year, and a contingency rider that was supposed to restore funding if a TERP bill passed was not in the final version of the budget.

In addition, separate legislation to extend the six fees that actually fund TERP did not pass, meaning the Legislature will need to come back in 2019 to extend them if the programs are to continue.

“We call on Governor Abbot to not only sign SB 1731 into law, but call back the Legislative Budget Board to adjust the budget to reflect its passage and return the nearly $40 million a year that was cut to fund these new programs,” added Reed. “Ultimately, the Legislature is going to have to decide how important it is to get the dirty air in our cities cleaned up and extend the fees — and spend the revenues — to help our children, the elderly and those with asthma to be able to breathe clean air.”

Leading the Charge: Resources to Support Workplace Charging

What factors do employers need to consider when establishing a workplace charging program?

While there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for workplace charging, there are a number of resources available to help employers design, implement, and manage the right program for their organization.

Assess Demand

Employers considering whether workplace charging is right for their organization will want to start by assessing employee demand with an employee survey. Once this assessment is complete, employers may set goals for meeting workplace charging demand, either by planning to meet the entire need (i.e., all drivers that have expressed or will express interest in PEV charging) or by dedicating a percentage of parking spaces to PEV charging. For example, Google has a goal to dedicate 5% of all parking spaces to workplace charging.

Procure and Install

Employers should determine what types of charging stations to purchase. There are a few decisions to make, including the following:

  • Charging Level: There are benefits and drawbacks to both Level 1 and Level 2 charging stations in the workplace. Employers must evaluate which option is best for their facilities. For more information about the differences between charging levels and their merits for workplace charging, see the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Workplace Charging Station Basics page.
  • Networking: Charging station networks provide maintenance, customer service, and energy monitoring capabilities, and collect payment on behalf of the station owner. However, networks require a fee, and employers will need to consider whether the convenience of charging networks outweighs the financial cost. For more information, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging Level 2 page.

Employers should also be sure to get quotes from a number of charging station providers. For more guidance, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging Sample Request for Proposal document. Employers will work with their electrical contractor to determine charging station placement; station installation can be an expensive process, but employers can minimize costs by siting stations in locations that require minimal trenching, boring, and electrical panel upgrades. For more information about siting and installation, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging Equipment and Installation Costs page.

Manage

A well-managed, well-planned workplace charging program can ensure station access to all employees, promote strong communication between employers and station users, and encourage responsible station use.

  • Registration and Liability: Many employers require employees to register their PEV, which allows the employer to identify the number of vehicles using their charging stations. For example, employers can give registered vehicles a mirror hangtag or window sticker that identifies the vehicle as having permission to use the charging stations. A registration form may also include language that requires vehicle owners to agree not to hold the employer responsible for any damage to the vehicle that occurs while it is parked at the charging station. For more information, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging Registration and Liability page.
  • Station Sharing: It is important to emphasize that workplace charging is a privilege, not a right. Employees may be obligated to share stations with their colleagues and comply with established charging time limits. While an employer can set up systems for sharing stations, such as reserving the station (similar to how an employee would reserve a conference room) or establishing a set schedule for use, most employers allow users to resolve station-sharing conflicts themselves. However, it is important to establish consequences for violating station policies, such as using a station for less than four hours. By framing workplace charging as a privilege, an employer reserves the right to restrict access for employees that routinely violate company policy. For more information about how to establish workplace charging policies and encourage station sharing, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging Station Sharing page.
  • Pricing: While most employers offer workplace charging for free, charging for station use can be a good way to manage demand. Employers may charge for electricity (e.g., per kilowatt hour) or for time (e.g., per hour), depending on preference and applicable regulations. Employers can motivate employees to move their vehicles and share the stations by charging a nominal fee (or no fee) for the first set number of hours (e.g., four hours) and then raise the fee for subsequent time that the vehicle is parked in the space. For more information, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging Pricing page.

For more resources about workplace charging, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging website or explore the Clean Cities’ Workplace Charging Toolkit.

What are state and local governments doing to incentivize alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs)?

There are many notable incentive activities at the state and local levels. Many states offer incentives for alternative fuels that advance specific environmental and energy security goals, while cities provide even more localized support.

 

States are targeting vehicles, infrastructure, and other means to encourage AFV adoption. Below are various types of incentives, as well as hyperlinked examples of each:

  • AFV Purchase Incentives: States offer grants, rebates, and tax credits for the purchase of AFVs. While some states may focus vehicle incentives on a particular fuel type, such as electric vehicles, others are more general in their support. States provide AFV purchase incentives to consumers, commercial fleets, and public fleets, such as schools and government agencies. Different incentive mechanisms tend to be more appropriate for different categories of vehicle purchasers; for example, grants are often limited to certain types of entities. Public fleets may not be liable for taxes, so they usually benefit more from grants than from tax credits. Private fleets can benefit from grants, rebates, and tax credits.
  • Fueling Infrastructure Purchase and Installation Incentives: Similar to AFV incentives, states provide grants,rebates, and tax credits for alternative fueling infrastructure. States usually create incentives for the physical fueling infrastructure, but many programs also support installation costs. Some states also offer a tax creditor tax reduction for the production or purchase of alternative fuel itself. Fueling infrastructure incentives may stipulate that the fueling or charging station must be available to the public, which helps to increase the availability of alternative fuels to a broader range of entities.
  • Other Incentives: In addition to financial support for the purchase of AFVs, states may give special benefits to AFV drivers. For example, some states allow high-occupancy vehicle lane access to AFVs, while others provide reduced registration fees, weight restriction exemptions, and emissions inspections exemptions.

 

Municipalities are also playing a role in supporting AFV deployment. Cities and counties incentivize AFVs in a number of ways, including by offering free or discounted parking, expediting permitting processes, and providing vehicle and infrastructure grants. For example, New Haven, CT, provides free parking on city streets for AFVs, while Los Angeles, CA, offers instant, online residential electric vehicle supply equipment permitting approval. The Alternative Fuels Data Center’s (AFDC) Local Laws and Incentives page provides more information on these and a greater array of other local options; while the page regarding local laws and incentives is not meant to be comprehensive, it provides users an idea of the different municipal programs and policies that exist (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/laws/local_examples). If you are aware of an innovative way that municipalities are supporting alternative fuels and vehicle acquisition, please contact the Clean Cities Technical Response Service attechnicalresponse@icf.com to share the details.

 

For more information about state and local alternative fuel incentives, see the AFDC Laws and Incentives page (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/laws).

 

Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team

technicalresponse@icf.com

800-254-6735

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