Transforming Energy Expenses into Sustainability Engines

Ron presented “Transforming Energy Expenses into Sustainability Engines” for the Friends FIRST program in November.

The presentation focuses on how businesses and institutions can leverage their existing energy expenses for electricity, heat, and transportation to create a vehicle for lower costs and clean, sustainable power.

https://zoom.us/recording/play/sS-1SksoDAAouGz5iyfyYEji5biGDXG6cPx8s4l812oAwB907w_iVxnvhBKe3tfx?continueMode=true

GM & Tesla Electric Vehicle Tax Credits being phased out in 2019

Both GM and Tesla have sold a total of more than 200,000 Electric Vehicles – triggering the tax-credit phaseout.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/02/gm-hit-200000-us-electric-vehicles-sold-in-2018.html

General Motors reached 200,000 cumulative U.S. electric vehicles sold late last year, triggering a phase-out of a $7,500 federal tax credit over the next 15 months, a person briefed on the matter said on Wednesday.

The largest U.S. automaker hit the figure in the fourth quarter of 2018, which means the credit will fall to $3,750 in April, and then drop to $1,875 in October for six months.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV is introduced as the Car of the Year during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, January 9, 2017.

The tax credit is aimed at defraying the cost of electric vehicles that are more expensive than similarly sized internal combustion engine vehicles. In 2009, Congress set the phase-out threshold at 200,000 vehicles per manufacturer.

GM, which said previously it expected to reach the 200,000 sales figure before the end of 2018, declined to comment ahead of the release of its quarterly sales results on Thursday.

GM and Tesla, which hit the 200,000 figure in July 2018, have both lobbied Congress to lift the cap or extend the existing tax credit. Tesla’s EV tax credit fell to $3,750 on Tuesday and Tesla said it was cutting prices on its EVs by $2,000 to partially offset the lower tax credit.

In March, GM Chief Executive Mary Barra called on Congress to expand the consumer tax credit for electric vehicles as the company boosted production of the EV Bolt in response to consumer demand. She repeated the request last month during a visit to Capitol Hill.

GM said in November it was doubling resources allocated to developing electric and self-driving vehicles as part of a significant restructuring that includes ending production at five North American plants. GM also announced it would halt production of the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt by March.

In November, a congressional report said 57,066 taxpayers claimed $375 million in EV tax credits in 2016. Congress estimates the cost of the EV tax credit at $7.5 billion between the 2018 and 2022 fiscal years. now the $7,500 federal tax credit will be phased out on of their future sales.

Electric buses roll out at New York’s airports

Our transformation to Electric Vehicles took another leap forward with electric buses now replacing 50% of the diesel buses at the 3 metro NY airports.

https://ny.curbed.com/2018/12/28/18158480/mta-electric-buses-lga-jfk-ewr-transportation

 

 

Electric buses roll out at New York’s airports

The battery-powered vehicles are coming to Newark Liberty, JFK, and LaGuardia

By Zoe Rosenberg@zoe_rosenberg  Dec 28, 2018, 9:15am EST

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MTA

The Port Authority is bringing electric buses to the metro area’s three major airports. They’re estimated to save 807 tons of greenhouse gases and 120,000 gallons of diesel fuel each year versus their diesel counterparts.

Six electric buses are already in use at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Newark Liberty International Airport’s six electric buses will go into use early next year, and LaGuardia Airport will receive its six electric buses by the summer of 2019.

These 18 all-electric buses will account for half of the airports’ former 36-bus diesel fleet. At each of the three airports, the six battery-operated buses are projected to save 269 tons of greenhouse gas emissions and approximately 40,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually. They’ll also help the air quality by eliminating the emissions of nearly 2,000 pounds of nitrous oxide and 150 pounds of particulate matter every year.

The buses, built by Proterra, take less than four hours to fully recharge and will travel an average of 230 miles per charge. (That’s a lot of traffic loops.) This doesn’t spell the end of AirTrain. Instead the buses will be used to shuttle passengers and employees to areas not serviced by the elevated train. The Port Authority is currently exploring bringing an AirTrain to LaGuardia.

 

Why GM is dumping the Chevy Volt

It was a bit of a surprise to hear that GM is no longer going to be producing the Chevy Volt. With an electric motor that will take you the first 50 miles, the Volt has been a popular plug-in hybrid for people who realize that 90% of their trips are less than 30 miles. But, the Volts also has a gas engine that provides a range of 400 miles, so it overcame many people’s “range anxiety” with a “backup generator under the hood”. What GM found is that most Volt owners are not using the gas engines, and that – with the exponential growth of public and workplace charging stations – customers prefer all-electric drives like the Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, Tesla 3, etc… Another step in our evolution to a fully-electric clean transportation system!

Why General Motors Is Ditching the Chevy Volt https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/why-general-motors-is-ditching-the-chevy-volt?utm_medium=email&utm_source=Storage&utm_campaign=GTMStorage#gs.Jtj_0YY

Out with the plug-in hybrid, in with the all-electric vehicle.

“The need to carry around a backup generator under the hood is just going away.

When General Motors launched the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid in 2010, it was heralded as a breakthrough “car of the future.” Turns out it came with an expiry date.

Come March, GM will no longer produce the Volt, as part of the automaker’s restructuring plan announced last month. GM said it will focus on growing its truck and SUV business, while prioritizing future investments in next-generation of battery-electric vehicle architectures.

The Volt isn’t part of that plan, news that EV fans took hard.

A primary selling point for the Volt was that owners could go (mostly) electric without having to compromise on range. The Volt’s roughly 50-mile electric range covers most daily commutes in America. For longer journeys, the car seamlessly switches over to using its small gasoline engine to power an on-board generator, for a total hybrid range of more than 400 miles.

But GM’s customer data shows that Volt owners simply aren’t turning on their gasoline engines all that much anymore.

“What we’re finding is that consumers are…carrying around this engine and driving on full electricity,” said Shad Balch, Chevrolet spokesperson, in a recent interview at the L.A. Auto Show.

Drivers are also getting over range anxiety, he said. When GM launched the first-generation Volt, there was virtually no public charging infrastructure. Now there are upward of 23,000 public charging stations in the U.S. and Canada.

“The need to carry around a backup generator under the hood is just going away,” Balch said. “We’re seeing that as…our customers are leaving the Volt to get into the Bolt EV.”

That trend is apparent across the EV market. In California, the nation’s largest EV market by far, pure electric-vehicle sales surpassed plug-in hybrids in 2015 and have since expanded their share of the market.

The Volt is retiring with the title of the bestselling electric car in America. GM’s cumulative Volt sales are still greater than Tesla’s, as of today. But now that the market is primed and GM has successfully commercialized long-range EV technology (the Bolt boasts a 238-mile electric range), it’s time to commit to a bigger transition both from a production standpoint and a vehicle standpoint, said Balch.

The Volt has also been a money-loser for GM. The additional equipment needed to make a plug-in hybrid is expensive, while GM committed to making the Volt price-competitive at around $35,000.

GM CEO Mary Barra has stated repeatedly that her company is committed to an “all-electric future.” In a speech earlier this year, Barra said that commitment “is unwavering, regardless of any modifications to future fuel economy standards,” referring to an ongoing policy battle over vehicle emissions rules in the U.S.

Last year, GM announced that the Chevy Bolt is just the first of at least 20 new all-electric vehicles (which includes fuel-cell electric vehicles) that the company will launch by 2023.

GM isn’t the only automaker taking this approach. Nissan, for instance, is (finally) doubling down on its battery electric vehicle lineup.

The Japanese automaker spearheaded the modern battery electric vehicle market in 2010 with the launch of the all-electric Leaf. Last year, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance held the record for most EVs sold anywhere in the world and may hang on to that title in 2018 as competitors continue to scale up production. The Alliance is currently leading the EV market in Europe, by a healthy margin.

Going forward, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi plans to develop eight new pure-electric vehicles by 2022. At the same time, Nissan is revamping its flagship Leaf.

Current Leaf vehicles come with a 40-kilowatt-hour battery and roughly 150-mile range, which is quickly becoming one of the shortest all-electric car ranges out there. The 2019 Leaf E-Plus is expected to have a 60-kilowatt-hour battery, which would bring the electric range above 220 miles.

Those details have yet to be released. The Leaf E-Plus was scheduled to launch in November, but Nissan chose to delay in light of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi chairman Carlos Ghosn’s arrest for financial crimes.

Kia Motors is also responding to growing consumer demand for all-electric vehicles. The Korean automaker unveiled two battery electric SUVs at the L.A. Auto Show last month with over 200 miles of range: the Niro and the Soul. Stephen Kosowski, manager of long-range strategy and planning at Kia, said that once a car surpasses 200 miles of range, customers talk a lot less about range anxiety.

“Consumers are starting to ask us: ‘Why you would you have a plug-in hybrid? Why bother? We like driving past the gas station,’” he said at an L.A. Auto Show side event.

It’s notable that Kia introduced two electric SUVs. If battery electric vehicle sales are on the rise, gasoline-powered SUV sales are skyrocketing — in the U.S. and, increasingly, abroad.

GM responded to this trend by announcing that it plans to shift away from sedans (ending production of six sedans in total, including the Volt) and shifting resources to its larger-format vehicles. It’s a strategy that seems inconsistent, at least on the face of it.

GM has yet to come out with an electric SUV, which means the company will be investing in passenger vehicles on opposite ends of the environmental spectrum: gas guzzlers and zero-emissions vehicles. But the American automaker argues that there’s a reason for this.

“The overall trend right now of consumers is they’re moving from sedans and cars into crossovers and trucks. That is the trend from a business perspective that is driving all of these forward-looking moves that we’re making right now,” said Balch. “The money that we will be able to save because of these transitions is going to be invested in autonomous and electric-vehicle propulsion. So, it’s like we’re using the core business right now to fund the future technology for vehicles of the future.”

GM’s core business — its gas-powered trucks, crossovers and SUVs — dominated the automaker’s display at the L.A. Auto Show this year, with the Bolt EV tucked in the very back.

“It’s very hard to connect the dots because they are such different vehicles,” Balch acknowledged, referring to today’s SUVs and battery electrics. But that’s changing.

Crossovers and SUVs are becoming increasingly efficient thanks to advancements in using lighter materials, which will be applied to future vehicles, including electric ones, said Balch. Also, while the Volt is going away, the battery technology developed for that vehicle, including the active thermal management system to keep the battery at its optimal temperature, has already been carried over into the Bolt.

The challenge for automakers now is to create compelling SUVs, trucks and crossovers that also happen to be electric.

Audi took a meaningful step in this direction with the Audi e-tron, the first next-generation all-electric vehicle to launch from the Volkswagen Group. It’s also the first all-electric passenger vehicle to hit the U.S. market with a charging rate of up to 150 kilowatts, which dramatically cuts down on charging time.

Recent trends show, as many expected, that as battery range increases and charging times decline, consumers will become more comfortable with all-electric drive. As more pure EVs come to market, it’s likely to accelerate the shift away from plug-in hybrids, and could, eventually, eliminate the need for gasoline entirely.

It’s Drive Electric Week!

Across the country, communities are promoting the environmental, financial, and health benefits of driving electric vehicles (EVs)  EarthKind created a series of daily posts for the week on Sustainable Westchester’s Facebook pages on the incredible growth and opportunities of EVs: (scroll down to see the posts):  https://www.facebook.com/sustainablewestchester/

The first post of the week is the Fuel Station of the Future: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLs7YOjC2mE

An exciting glimpse into a renewable future harnessing the energy of electric cars to power homes and offices. Replacing fossil fuels that harm our environment and cause irreversible damage for generations to come, Nissan’s innovative proposal would leverage natural energy through cars to provide for our energy needs, and reclaim the green spaces on which power stations were built. English accent a bonus. (Enjoy how they say the name Nissan).

 

EarthKind Bridge solar project breaks ground

EarthKind Energy is proud to be the clean energy consultant to the New York State Bridge Authority (NYSBA), who broke ground on a 486KW solar system and had their 1,350 PV panels delivered this week.

EarthKind conducted the utility cost analysis, identified the Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge site, provided the solar project sizing, prepared the bid documentation, recommended the installation award, negotiated the Power Purchase Agreement that locked in a price of 10 cents per kwh for 20 years,  coordinated the utility inter-connection application, and is overseeing the project installation and commissioning.

“The Bridge Authority’s commitment and actions to meet Governor Cuomo’s clean energy goals are unparalleled”, said Ron Kamen, CEO of EarthKind Energy.  “The combined lighting efficiency gains and solar energy generation makes the Bridge Authority the first New York State government entity to effectively meet the Governor’s target.  It’s this type of true leadership that will provide stable, affordable electricity prices; save taxpayers money; and create a healthier and more sustainable future for all of us.”

NEW YORK STATE BRIDGE AUTHORITY BREAKS GROUND ON SOLAR PANEL ARRAY AT KINGSTON-RHINECLIFF BRIDGE

 

World reaches 1 Terawatt of Solar & Wind

The world reached a milestone with more than 1,000 Gigawatts = 1 Terawatt of wind & solar capacity.

It’s now projected that it will be only 5 more years until we reach 2 TWs.

https://about.bnef.com/blog/world-reaches-1000gw-wind-solar-keeps-going/

World Reaches 1,000GW of Wind and Solar, Keeps Going

August 2, 2018

Bloomberg NEF data indicate that the world has attained the landmark figure of 1TW of wind and solar generation capacity installed. We estimate that the second terawatt of wind and solar will arrive by mid-2023 and cost 46% less than the first.

New output from the BNEF database shows that there were 1,013GW of wind and solar PV generating capacity installed worldwide as of June 30, 2018. The 1TW milestone would have been passed sometime just before this date. The total is finely balanced between wind (54%) and solar (46%).

Looking back on the first terawatt of wind and solar reveals just how far these two sectors have come. Total installed capacity has grown 65-fold since the year 2000, and more than quadrupled since 2010.

Even more striking is the growth of solar PV alone. As recently as 2007, there was just 8GW of PV capacity installed, compared with 89GW of wind. Since then, PV has grown from just 8% of total installed wind and solar capacity, to 46%. In the process, PV installations grew 57-fold, with utility-scale PV overtaking small-scale PV in 2014. Wind still represents the majority of the installed base at 54%, but is likely to relinquish this lead soon.

Investment

We estimate that the first 1TW of wind and solar required approximately $2.3 trillion of capital expenditure to deploy. The second terawatt will cost significantly less than the first. Based on estimates from our New Energy Outlook 2018, capital expenditures on wind and solar generation will total about $1.23 trillion from 2018 to 2022 inclusive.

What about other renewables? 

We have singled out wind and solar in this piece because they are the fastest-growing sources of power generation and have just recently achieved the 1TW mark. If we were to include all other renewables, including hydropower, the total would already exceed 2TW, with the 1TW mark attained about a decade ago. Most of the growth in the intervening period can be attributed to wind and solar.

Did we forecast it right?

Reaching back into the BNEF archives allows us to examine our own forecasting track record, and see whether we were too optimistic or conservative on the growth of solar and wind. In our 2013 Global Renewable Energy Market Outlook (web | Terminal) – also known as GREMO – we estimated that global wind and solar installations would hit 865GW by the end of 2017, and get very close to 1,000GW by the end of 2018. In actual fact, the world had hit 945GW by end-2017, thus outperforming our expectations by 9%, and hit 1,000GW about six months earlier than we forecast. In other words, we were very close, but not quite aggressive enough.

We now estimate that wind and solar will hit 1.1TW by the end of this year – 11% more than we forecast five years ago. Given that the market has more than doubled in that time, we are happy to claim this as a ‘win’. As the figure below shows, our 2013 forecasts for onshore wind and small-scale PV ended up being very accurate. We were a little too bullish on offshore wind, while utility-scale PV has exceeded our expectations.

BNEF clients can see the full report, “World Reaches 1,000GW of Wind and Solar, Keeps Going”, with data by region and technology on the Terminal or on web.

 

3.2 Million US Clean Energy Jobs

I’m proud to be a New York State Chapter Director for E2, the Environmental Entrepreneurs, a non-partisan organization of business leaders who promote the sustainability policies are good for the economy, as well as the environment.

One of the (many) excellent programs E2 launched is documenting the number of Americans who work in the clean energy industry – 3.2 Million today, and growing everyday!

https://www.e2.org/cleanjobsamerica/

16,000 Electric Buses!?!

As we all strive to move toward zero emission communities, the Chinese city of Shenzhen is leading the world with 16,000 electric buses! (90% of the buses are by BYD – who is now manufacturing in the US and bringing their cost-saving, fossil-free heavy duty bus & truck technology to New York).

Shenzhen goes fully electric with over 16,000 electric buses

Electric buses are in service in many North American and European cities, notably London, which has committed to eliminating pure diesel (non-hybrid) buses, and Los Angeles, which plans to make its fleet emissions-free by 2030. 12 major cities have pledged to buy only all-electric buses starting in 2025.

However, these efforts pale in comparison to what’s going on in Shenzhen. The Chinese megacity of 12 million, which has been adding electric buses to its fleet for years, has now announced that it has completely electrified its fleet, with some 16,359 e-buses in operation.

The city has built 8,000 charge points at 510 bus charging stations, and can charge roughly half the fleet at any given time. The electric buses are saving an estimated 345,000 tons of fuel per year, and 1.35 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Shenzhen also has a plan in place to update its taxi fleet to EVs. A reported 63 percent of the city’s 12,000 taxis already run on electricity.

“We will gradually replace the existing fuel-powered cabs with electricity-powered ones and complete the target by 2020, or even ahead of schedule,” said Zheng Jingyu, head of Shenzhen’s public transport department.