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Sandy City Launches Sustainable Sandy Initiative; Unveils New EV Chargers

Learn more about the rollout of EV chargers throughout Sandy City!

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The Case for Electric School Buses

What first comes to mind when you think about school bus transportation? Perhaps it’s the orange or yellow color, the sound of one passing by your home, or the dot moving on the map on your phone as you watch your child’s commute to school. What may not yet come to mind, however, is a quiet, emissions-free electric school bus.

Since school buses transport millions of students to and from school every day throughout the school year, they may be the most critical vehicles on the road. What if there was a way to make their commute safer, healthier, and more efficient? There may be, and per the benefits, we explore below, the answer may point to electric school buses.

Improved Health and Safety

  • Cleaner Air for Passengers

According to an article by Environmental Defense, exposure to various pollutants from inside a diesel school bus is five to six times greater than ambient levels and three times higher than someone walking to school. The exposure to pollutants inside the bus, called self-pollution, occurs because the bus’s tailpipe emissions are reentering into the cabin. Because there are no tailpipe emissions on electric vehicles, an electric bus’s air quality inside (and outside) is significantly improved.

  • Reduced Health Risk

Electric school buses may reduce asthma symptoms and other respiratory issues since they do not emit exhaust. However, air pollutants such as diesel exhaust can trigger or worsen asthma attacks. Another scary condition to which diesel exhaust is a contributor is cancer. Diesel exhaust is internationally recognized as a carcinogen and recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a substance that likely causes cancer.

  • More Reliable Transportation

Electric vehicles have fewer moving parts; therefore, there are fewer parts to deteriorate or break. This can mean that electric buses are more reliable, especially for longer bus routes and traffic considerations.

  • Quieter Commute

Electric vehicles are much quieter than gas or diesel-powered vehicles, making the inside of buses less noisy as well. Driving a quieter school bus could mean that bus drivers can better hear and communicate with students and better hear their surroundings (such as a siren).
Environmental Benefits

  • Cleaner Air

Exchanging one diesel school bus with an electric school bus can lower greenhouse gas emissions by over 50,000 pounds per year. The air quality of an area dramatically improves with the lack of diesel fuel exhaust emissions. Cleaner air benefits other commuters, surrounding plants and wildlife, and the community.

  • Quieter Roadways

Since electric vehicles don’t make much noise, they don’t contribute to the nuisance of “noise pollution.” Noise pollution is any environmental noise that is unwanted and disturbing. Traffic and regular vehicles fall into this category.

  • Continuously Lessening the Environmental Impact

While pollution is created in producing electric vehicles, the amount varies depending on the process, company, location, and other factors. Manufacturers are continuously finding new ways to produce and operate electric vehicles more cleanly and efficiently. This also includes the electric grids from which the batteries are charged.

Lower Operation Cost

  • Better “Gas” Mileage

Electric school buses require less energy and cost to operate. If you compare an electric school bus’s “gas mileage” to that of a diesel school bus, electric gets the equivalent of 17 miles per gallon, while the diesel gets approximately 6 miles per gallon. Additionally, electricity is less expensive than diesel fuel and has more predictable prices.

  • Less Maintenance Cost

Gas and diesel-powered vehicles require frequent maintenance such as oil changes and tune-ups and component replacements such as the water pump and fuel pump. However, since electric vehicles don’t need much maintenance, the maintenance cost savings of an electric school bus versus a diesel school bus is nearly 60%. The operation cost savings can offset the initial investment of an electric school bus, which is more than that of a diesel school bus.

  • Healthcare Savings

By reducing air pollution, moving to electric vehicles is expected to create significant savings in overall healthcare.

Other Benefits and FAQ’s

How long will the electric batteries in electric buses last?

The electric batteries are expected to last for the life of the bus or about 12-15 years.

What happens with the battery after it can no longer be used?

Most electric school buses will use a lithium-ion battery which can be recycled after use.

Will an electric school bus be able to complete a bus route before needing to charge again?

A typical school bus route one-way is 30-40 miles. The electric school buses can travel between 100-135 miles between charges, giving more than enough energy to complete a daily route.

How long does it take to charge the bus’s battery fully?

It depends on the bus and the size of the charging station, though it typically takes about 6-8 hours. This timeframe makes overnight charging convenient for schools.

What about all the other diesel and gas cars on the road?

While we can’t control the types of transportation citizens use, communities can choose the type of transportation their schools operate.

Electric school buses are quickly becoming a priority for cities and government officials, and with the long list of advantages, they may become a priority for parents as well. As electric vehicles become more common, the benefits of electric school buses on the health of children and communities, safety, lower long-term costs for schools are becoming more apparent.

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DOE Funds EMPOWER Workplace Charging Project

Press Release from Tennessee Clean Fuels: 

empower header

On Nov. 1, 2021, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Vehicle Technologies Office announced the winners of the FY’21 “Low Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Vehicle Technologies Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment” funding opportunity. Included in this year’s round was a Topic Area of “Electric Vehicle Workplace Charging.” One of the announced winners was the Columbia-Willamette Clean Cities Coalition (CWCC) and their EMPOWER proposal – “Equitable Mobility Powering Opportunities for Workplace Electrification Readiness.”

Leveraging their experience with the Drive Electric USA program, East Tennessee Clean Fuels is providing administrative support and project management guidance for the EMPOWER program.

This proposal included 30 DOE Clean Cities Coalitions as a large workforce that would lead the boots-on-the-ground implementation of a new national workplace charging alliance. The work will begin with a year’s convening of diverse transportation electrification representatives that will share experience, listen and craft a program that will encourage participation by workplaces in diverse communities across America.

“This project offers a great opportunity for Clean Cities Coalitions to listen to the communities we work within and find out how workplace charging could benefit them,” Brian Trice, Executive Director of CWCC, said.

The project aims to…

“… reach upwards of 2,000 employers and secure at least 650 employer commitments to install and support workplace charging programming, and 3,500 installed EVSE/units at employer sites. Additionally, our goal is to end up with at least 20% of our employer commitments from diverse employers in qualified opportunities zones that benefit underserved communities and people of color. Participating workplaces will provide critical feedback on our workplace charging resources as we produce them, allowing us to continually improve our program system and materials during the project period. This feedback loop is a critical part of the successful development of a national workplace charging program that is both effective and user-friendly.”

The EMPOWER project will accelerate the interest and support for workplace charging nationwide using a national landing page/funnel and website that will house our tools, resources and information, along with consistent messaging, tactics and coordination with national data and utility partners. This project has a primary goal of advancing employer commitments for workplace charging programs and installations. Secondary goals include collecting and advancing electric vehicle charging research and increasing career pathways in the EV charging industry for underrepresented communities.empower leader logos jpg 1030x585

“We are looking forward to engaging directly with unrepresented and overburdened communities through this project,” Jonathan Overly, Coordinator of ETCF, said. “We will be listening to what these communities have to say about electric vehicle infrastructure in their communities and considering it as this project progresses.”

Major project partners working with CWCC include Cadeo Group, East Tennessee Clean Fuels (ETCF), Louisiana Clean Fuels (LCF),  ICF InternationalShift2Electric, Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), National Rural Electric  Cooperative Association (NRECA), Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP), Cerritos CollegeWashington State Department of Commerce, American Lung Association (ALA), the University of Tennessee at Knoxville (UTK), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

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The project also has charging provider partners that include Siemens and Chargepoint and the following diverse utilities: ComEdAlabama PowerEntergyEversource, Memphis Light Gas & Water (MLGW), OK Gas & Electric (OG&E), Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), Green Mountain Power (GMP), Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Avangrid, Electric Power Board of Chattanooga (EPB), Pepco Holdings, Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC), Central Maine Power (CMP), Knoxville Utility Board (KUB), Rocky Mountain PowerBurlington Electric Department, Portland General Electric (PGE), Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) and Kentucky Power.

The project team is receiving $3,970,539 in federal funds while providing over $1,000,000 in cost share from non-federal sources.

Read on below to learn more about the project!

Want to contact the project leadership? Email empower@cwcleancities.org.


The EMPOWER project will build on our team’s learned understanding of workplace charging as well as the management of complex federal projects. We are utilizing a similar management structure in the coordination of our more than 30 Clean Cities Coalition partners and employing “regional Captains” based on the U.S. DOE’s geographic delineation. These regional Coalition Captains will be responsible for oversight and assistance to their underlying Coalitions, channeling two-way communications from the Strategic Advisory Team (SAT) to Coalitions and from the Coalitions to the SAT, resource deployment and ensuring that support is available when needed.

With a) parts of the country exceeding 5% electric vehicle market share, b) many new plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) options becoming available and c) many states starting to develop statewide Drive Electric partnerships and programs (e.g., see the DRIVE Electric USA initiative), this national workplace charging collaboration is important at this critical time of market inflection.

Workplace charging helps with employee recruitment and retention; offering plug-in access at work also proves an organization’s credibility when talking about sustainability efforts. Other benefits of workplace charging need further research and will be part of our program’s evaluation. Reliable access to a charging station at home remains a barrier that prevents many drivers from owning a plug-in vehicle. Workplace charging can provide a pathway for plug-in ownership for those considering an EV who live in apartments, condominiums or otherwise do not have access to an overnight charging station.

Workplace charging can affect large swathes of our community and directly affect many new EV owners, plug-in hybrid owners and a growing used-EV-owner populace.

An essential facet of our program design will be the diversity, equity and inclusion lens in place for all facets of this project. We will be looking at our team’s makeup, how we promote the program and the emphasis we make on our outreach to make a determined effort to fairly advance the benefits of transportation electrification where it will have the most significant AND most diverse impact.

Workplace charging is also increasingly seen as a value to electric utilities. Utility program administrators are forecasting the value of frequency regulation, load following and load shifting grid interactions with EVSE and EVs. Workplace charging can flatten the curve of demand by charging mid-day and lessening the extra evening demand during what is typically a peak evening event.

The EMPOWER project team understands the potential of our energy resilience and is collaborating with ORNL and the PNNL to help ensure that data from this project can inform national laboratory research and tools. This project will provide consistency for workplace charging resources and valuable research to continue evaluating the many associated variables of these programs and create a long-term plan to support a framework for communication and support for key market actors. There can be many regional differences that may affect how an employer or utility may respond to workplace charging programming – our resource package will allow for localization to help ensure that partners feel comfortable approaching their key stakeholders.

The Clean Cities Coalitions that will be part of the initiative include (listed from West Coast to East Coast):

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PODCAST Preview: Utah Clean Cities and The National Association of State Energy Officials host CORWest Demand Charge Webinar

Keynote Speaker Dylan Tucker Senior Project Manager with NASEO gives a brief overview of the EV Demand Charger Assessment and why it is so important. 

The webinar will lay out electric vehicle fast-charging and rate design options to enable ubiquitous public charging infrastructure as states, electric service providers, and private sector companies prepare for the electrification of the transportation sector, electric billing rates for electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging has emerged as a barrier to rapidly deploying new infrastructure and providing cost-competitive charging to EV drivers.

When: Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Where: Virtual event register here 

When 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. MST

Recent work by the CORWest Project Team has examined the effect of current electric billing rates through the report: Demand Charges and Electric Vehicle Fast-Charging: An Intermountain West Assessment. This webinar will present the results of that report, examining the rate structures of 41 electric service providers in the region. That will be followed by a discussion of case studies on how service providers can manage rates to enable the deployment of new fast-charging infrastructure and grow their customer base through vehicle electrification.

CORWest supports electrifying the intermountain west alternative fuel corridors

  • Remove barriers to investment to enable private station development.
  • Identify key infrastructure gaps and develop solutions to deploy charging stations in rural regions required to complete corridors.
  • Develop replicable educational tools to encourage EV consumer awareness.

CORWest facilitates regional connectivity with:

  • 8 State Partnership
  • Largest EV Corridor Collaborative
  • Designed to Scale & Replicate Nationally

 

 

 

 

 

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Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Carves Out Billions of Dollars for Hydrogen: How Utah Could Benefit

Monday, November 15, 2021 President Joe Biden signed the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure bill, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The bill allocates money for alternative fuels such as hydrogen. Experts with the Western States Hydrogen Alliance  (WSHA) say the money could help drive large-scale deployment and investment for the hydrogen industry in Utah and the United States.

“Hydrogen fuel cells do perfectly in the large scale setting,” WSHA Executive Director Roxana Bekemohammadi said.“ Hydrogen fuel cells are a vital part of the decarbonization of especially, heavy duty equipment be it trucks busses, locomotives vessels, and even aviation”. 

According to an Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, fuel cell technologies and hydrogen energy are being increasingly viewed as essential decarbonization options across the United States and around the world for a wide range of sectors, including transportation, goods and people movement, power generation, energy storage, natural gas blending, marine propulsion, aviation, heating, steelmaking, and other industrial applications.

“This bill demonstrates the incredible potential for creating the nation’s hydrogen economy,” added Frank Wolak. “FCHEA is encouraged by further discussions surrounding the Build Back Better Act which includes an array of tax and policy activities that complement this infrastructure bill and will continue to drive innovation, economic growth, and emissions reduction.”

The infrastructure bill includes a package of resources for hydrogen including $8 billion for development of a number of large-scale Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs across the country, $1 billion for Clean Hydrogen Electrolysis Research and Development, and $500 million in funds for Clean Hydrogen Manufacturing and Recycling. Also, the bill directs the federal government to develop the country’s first national hydrogen roadmap and strategy. 

“We are excited that the Biden Administration and Congress are supporting four hydrogen hubs.
They want one that will be utilizing fossil fuels, one that will utilize nuclear power, one for renewable energy, and the last one is up in the air,” WSHA Executive Director Roxana Bekemohammadi said. 

The bill lays out other opportunities to help propel the deployment of l hydrogen energy and fuel cell technology throughout the nation’s energy and transportation systems. 

Bekemohammadi says the $1 billion allocated to clean hydrogen electrolysis research and development could help Utah based company OxEon Energy, a company that produces solid oxide electrolyzer and fuel cells. OxEon Energy is investigating the use of a solid oxide fuel cell stack as the power generation device for eVTOL applications. The challenges of robustness of the SOFC device was addressed under a NASA funded program to develop a solid oxide electrolysis unit that successfully generated oxygen on Mars. 

“On top of that, they are hiring locally so I anticipate there is going to be economic development through this money potentially being invested in OxEon”, WSHA Executive Director Roxana Bekemohammadi said. 

Another Utah based project that could benefit from the infrastructure bill is the Utah Inland Port Authority (UIPA). Located in the Utah Inland Port territory of Salt Lake City, Lancer Energy is building the state’s first super station. Experts say the station is going to be an SMR unit taking renewable natural gas to hydrogen and then taking the hydrogen through a fuel cell for DC fast charging. UIPA plans to capture hydrogen using SMR  (steam methane reforming) using natural gas. This capture requires a combination of renewable and carbon captured hydrogen. 

Republican Senator Mitt Romney was the states only lawmaker in Washington to support the President’s Infrastructure Bill.

Senator Romney released the following statement, After months of unnecessary delay by House Democratic leadership, today’s passage is a win for Utah, as we will now be better positioned to meet transportation challenges, mitigate drought conditions, prepare for and respond to wildfires, extend broadband to rural communities, and fulfill critical water needs. In stark contrast to Democrats’ efforts to pass a separate bill to drastically expand social programs, the bipartisan group I worked with proved that it’s possible to achieve solutions without raising taxes or adding trillions to the national debt. I urge President Biden to keep his promise to sign this legislation without delay, so we can modernize our nation’s physical infrastructure, address supply chain issues, and demonstrate that, even in polarized times, Congress can still come together on behalf of the American people”. 

Utah Highlights:

Authorizes $3 Billion for Utah’s Roads and Highways

  • Utah has 2,064 miles of roads in poor condition. Commute times are up 7.2% in the state since 2011 and bad roads cost drivers an average of $709 per year in repair. This bipartisan legislation authorizes roughly $3 billion in highway funding for Utah over five years to construct, rebuild, and maintain its roads and highways.

 Includes key legislative priorities championed by Senator Romney:

  • Smart Intersections Act: Provides resources to state, local, and tribal governments to improve the functioning of their traffic signals;
  • Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission Act: Establishes a commission to study and recommend fire prevention, mitigation, management, and rehabilitation policies for forests and grasslands;
  • Secures additional funding for wildfire mitigation and recovery, including hazardous fuel removal, burned area recovery, prescribed fires, shared stewardship contracts and agreements, and more;
  • $50 million for Central Utah Project Completion Act: Provides water for municipal use, mitigation, hydroelectric power, fish and wildlife, and conservation;
  • $500 million for the Western Area Power Administration for drought-related shortfalls; 
  • $300 million to fund outstanding Emergency Watershed Program needs for post-fire recovery and wildfire mitigation;
  • $100 million for drought contingency plan funding;
  • $1 billion for the FEMA Building Resilient Infrastructure Communities (BRIC) program for pre-disaster mitigation, including wildfire and drought projects;
  • $214 million to fully fund the Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement: Legislation to bring running water to the 40% of Navajo Nation in Utah who lack it; and
  • $1.7 billion for the construction and improvement of Indian Health Services sanitation facilities.

Delivers $219 million to Utah for water revolving funds

  • The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would authorize roughly $219 million over five years for the Beehive State through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program & Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

Invests in Utah’s Airports

  • In July, the FAA announced Utah airports received over $1.8 million in federal grants through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes $25 billion for airport improvement projects such as expansions, installations, assisting with planning, rebuilding runways, improving lighting and runways, and air navigation facilities.

Provides $65 billion to expand broadband access across the country

  • Builds on Senator Romney’s efforts to expand broadband access to unserved and underserved communities in Utah.

Eliminates federal red tape by reforming the permitting process to speed construction projects

  • Builds on the Federal Permitting Council’s efforts to shortening the government approval process for large infrastructure projects by bringing relevant agencies together to reduce inefficiencies. 

    Provides $40 billion in funding for bridge construction, maintenance, and repair

  • Of that, $30 billion will be apportioned by formula to ensure bridges in every state are provided with needed resources. Utah currently has 62 bridges classified as structurally deficient.

About the Western States Hydrogen Association 

The Western States Hydrogen Alliance is a member-based non-profit alliance, dedicated to advancing the market for hydrogen and fuel cells in the commercial sector within the Western United States. WSHA’s focus is on swift and decisive action in the immediate term, acknowledging that an open window of opportunity exists in the market now.

About the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association 

The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) represents over seventy leading companies and organizations that are advancing innovative, clean, safe, and reliable energy technologies. FCHEA drives support and provides a consistent industry voice to regulators and policymakers. Our educational efforts promote the environmental and economic benefits of fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies. 

Resources

Utah Clean Cities Coalition Hydrogen Projects 

A beginners Guide to Hydrogen in Utah 

Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA)

Western States Hydrogen Association

listen to the entire interview with WSHA Executive Director Roxana Bekemohammadi. 

 

 

 

 

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Utah Clean Cities attends Utah Outdoor Recreation Summit

By Marti Sorensen Intern Utah Clean Cities

On October 27 (Wed.) and 28 (Thurs.), 2021, Utah Clean Cities attended the recent Utah Outdoor Recreation Summit held in Kanab, Utah.This event aims to develop and elevate outdoor recreation communities, foster stewardship, and improve the health and quality of life of all Utah residents. More than 250 attendees including: universities, non-profits, and local companies.The show of support at the Summit was a fantastic display of Utahns’ passion and love for the public lands. The East Zion mountain biking trail’s ribbon cutting ceremony kicked off the summit, including remarks from speakers Jeff Bradybaugh, Superintendent of Zion National Park, Brent Chamberlain, Kane County Commissioner, Pitt Grewe, Director of the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation, Mark Preiss, Director of the Zion National Park Foundation, and Vicki Varela, Managing Director of the Utah Office of Tourism. The 10 miles of new bike trail is one of the many features planned for the east entrance of the national park in the coming years to help address overcrowding. The trail comes as National Park Service data show more than an estimated 4 million visitors have visited the park already this year, through September, which puts it on pace to shatter its visitation record of over 4.5 million set in 2017. 

“The next generation of our park experience in our public land experience is going to look like a collaboration that is not just about our visitors and their experience, but it’s about the health and well-being of our communities. We’re going to determine what that looks like for the next 100 years,” Mark Preiss said. 

The land for the 10 miles of the mountain bike trails that opened Wednesday was donated by two local families: the McLaws and Neeleman families; the latter is the owner of the Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort, which is located in Kane County between the park’s eastern boundaries and the town of Orderville. 

At the trail opening, Utah Clean Cities unveiled  its new EV shuttle, which is part of the larger EV Zion Project, in order to promote the goals of strengthening outdoor recreation and improving health for all Utahns. This new EV Shuttle was created to navigate the varied weather and terrain of Zion National Park and the neighboring areas of Southern Utah. Both the EV shuttle and the new East Zion mountain biking trail illustrate how collaboration and forward thinking can lead to significant and long-lasting infrastructure that can be used by all. This brief demonstration is part of a greater transportation vision for this area, which is prone to traffic congestion due to the park’s high visitor numbers. 

Watch the entire ribbon cutting here. 

 

 

 

 

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A recap of the 13 Annual Alternative Fuels Awareness Month: READ the Governor’s Declaration

Governor Declares November as Advanced Zero Emission Vehicle and Fuels Awareness Month

Event demonstrates Utah leadership on clean transportation

Salt Lake City, UT – Utah kicked off the 13th annual Advanced Zero Emission Vehicle and Fuels Awareness Month with an event showcasing the state’s efforts to advance development of clean transportation choices in both the private and public sectors. Governor Spencer Cox’s official declaration was read today by Thom Carter, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Energy Development. The declaration highlights the emerging portfolio of advanced fueled vehicles, both public and private, including fuels produced from Utah-sourced agricultural and municipal wastes, renewable electric, hydrogen, methane, and biofuels. Utah is one of nine western states to explore electric vehicle adoption and infrastructure deployments throughout the west as part of the Western Governors Association’s Electric Vehicles Roadmap Initiative. Additionally, the REVWest program has grown into the Utah-led CORWest project which is recognized as a national rural model for building electric vehicle infrastructure throughout rural gateway communities, national parks, and scenic byways.

In Southern Utah, more than 30 public and private partners have collaborated to advance Smart Mobility systems in gateway communities, including the EVZion electric shuttle demonstration pilot and the commitment of Zion National Park to electrify all busing services in the park.

“Half of all air pollution along the Wasatch Front comes from the transportation sector. Of that, fifty percent comes from the tailpipes of medium and heavy-duty vehicles. The 13th Annual Alternative Fuels Awareness Month amplifies opportunities while directly addressing the real and perceived barriers to using abundant, affordable, and Utah-based clean fuels solutions. Awareness is the most urgent call to bring action and real deployment of zero emissions vehicles to Utah’s transportation sector,” said Utah Clean Cities Executive Director Tammie Bostick.

Manufacturers currently offer more than 850 models of alternative fuel vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery-electric, ethanol and renewable fuels for compressed natural gas and propane to provide state-of-the-art road-ready options for vehicle classes for light, medium and heavy-duty vehicle fleets. Utah is working collaboratively with the Utah Clean Cities Coalition, United States Department of Energy, and the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration to build the highway systems of the future with Utah’s existing Alternative Fuel Corridor along major interstate corridors offering 868 alternative fueling sites.

The Utah Inland Port Authority is also working to bring alternative fuel options and zero-emissions technologies to heavy-duty transportation and logistics fleets. Partnering with BayoTech, Lancer Energy, and others, UIPA has begun a project to develop a distributed hydrogen production hub and fueling station within the Salt Lake valley jurisdictional area. The Port Authority is also working with ASPIRE, the Utah State University electrification technology leader, on port electrification and hydrogen technologies with renewable sources from Utah’s own energy sector for port-to-port freight movement.

“Environmental sustainability and economic development are not mutually exclusive,” said Jack Hedge, UIPA Executive Director. “UIPA’s role is to invest in all kinds of alternative fuel infrastructure to lead the region to cleaner, more sustainable options for the logistics industry.”

Demonstration vehicles showcased at the event included an all-electric bus from the Salt Lake City School District, a 100% Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) Ford F150 from Lancer Energy, a RNG refuse and recycling hauler, and Tesla passenger cars.

Read the declaration below:

 

Alternative Fuel Awareness Month in Utah Declaration

Whereas, November marks the 13th Alternative Fuels Awareness Month, which continues to raise public awareness and encourage the adoption of clean transportation choices in Utah to reduce pollution and improve air quality;

Whereas, we support the Western Governors Association’s Electric Vehicles Roadmap Initiative, providing a coordinated effort between nine western states to explore electric vehicle adoption and infrastructure deployment throughout the west; 

Whereas, manufacturers currently offer more than 850 models of alternative fuel vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery-electric, ethanol, compressed natural gas, liquified natural gas and propane to provide state-of-the-art, road-ready options for light, medium and heavy-duty vehicle classes;

Whereas, the emerging portfolio of advanced-fuel vehicles that operate on Utah-produced sources continue to ensure our energy security with growing numbers of renewable options for electric, propane, biodiesel, compressed natural gas, and from agricultural and municipal waste;

Whereas, the State of Utah, working collaboratively with the United States Department of Energy, the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration and the Utah Clean Cities Coalition, continues to build transportation systems that will meet future needs through Utah’s existing Alternative Fuel Corridor, offering 870 alternative fueling sites along major interstate corridors;

Whereas, the REVWest initiative, involving eight Intermountain West Governors, has grown into the Utah-led CORWest project and is now recognized as a national rural model for building electric vehicle infrastructure throughout rural gateway communities, national parks and scenic byways; 

Whereas, we applaud southern Utah leaders who have worked tirelessly to create smart mobility systems in gateway communities including the EVZion electric shuttle pilot and the commitment of Zion National Park to electrify all busing services in the park;

Now, therefore, I, Spencer Cox, Governor of the great State of Utah, do hereby declare November 2021 Alternative Fuel Awareness Month in Utah, henceforth known as Advanced Zero Emission Vehicle and Fuels Awareness Month.

 

Alternative Fuel Awareness Month in Utah

Speakers included

  • Tammie Bostick – Executive Director, UCC
  • Thom Carter – Executive Director, Office of Energy Development
  • Dr. David Christensen – Innovation Director, ASPIRE Center
  • Kim Frost – Executive Director, UCAIR
  • Matt Sibul – Director of Sales, Stadler Rail
  • Julie Snowball – Assistant Vice President of Regional Partnerships, Weber State University
  • Jack Hedge – Executive Director, Utah Inland Port Authority
  • Debbie Lyons – Department Director, Salt Lake City Office of Sustainability (SLCGreen)

 

 

 

 

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New mountain bike trail in Zion National Park part of plan to spread out impact of crowds

Posted on October 28, 2021

By Alastair Lee Bitsóí The Salt Lake Tribune

Article 

East Fork • The McLaws family has owned land outside of Zion National Park for 23 years. Most of this land, which consists of juniper, pinon and pine, would normally be reserved as a family ranch and for off-spring inheritance and fortune. Valued at $1.3 million, they’re giving it away.

The McLaws family donated about 20 acres of their lands to a private-public partnership called the East Zion Initiative, which plans to develop and protect the east gateway entrance into Zion National Park.

One of the first projects to come out of this collaborative is the East Zion Bike Trail Network. On Wednesday, the McLaws, along with state and Kane County officials, the Zion Forever Project and officials from Zion National Park celebrated the first 10-miles of a 24.5 mountain bike trail system that will loop around the eastern edge of the famous park.

Zion National Park is one of the most popular parks in the nation, with approximately 4.5 million visitors coming from all over the world to see its iconic red canyons. Oftentimes, tourists pack into the park’s propane-fueled buses to hike, camp or bike through the 15-miles of the canyon’s steep 3,000 feet cliffs. Park officials want to disperse visitors throughout the park to lessen the impact of the crowds.

“I do understand from talking to people, and having them in moments around the campfire, that people do need this,” Kevin McLaws said, referring to how the East Zion Initiative is trying to develop the land in a sustainable manner.

The East Zion Initiative was founded with the goal of providing new experiences and recreational opportunities that expand beyond what Zion National Park offers in its park borders. Most times visitors come to Zion for popular visits and hikes like Angels Landing and the Narrows, but there is more recreation beyond the cliffs.

Along with the visitor center, the east entrance is getting an electric shuttle bus system. A pilot project by the Utah Clean Cities, the electric buses will begin to shuttle people to and from Zion in Kanab, according to its executive director Tammie Bostick.

Over 23 years ago, the McLaws made an offer on 20 acres of land with future generations in mind. The goal, McLaws said, is to also help offset visitor impact to Zion National Park, which annually attracts about 4 million visitors. This year, the park is already about to surpass the 4.5 million visitors that came in 2019.

“It certainly becomes a place that can relieve the pressure of the main canyon in Zion,” McLaws said after the ribbon-cutting ceremony near the intersection of Highway 9 and North Fork Road.

Construction on the new bike trail, built by American Conservation Experience, began last fall, and will now be a cycling option for the one million visitors that enter Zion National Park’s east entrance, said Zion National Park Superintendent Jeffery Bradybaugh.

The superintendent explained the East Zion Initiative is an example of diversifying the recreational experience for the region.

“We want to provide visitors with a range of experiences,” Bradybaugh said.

The proposed visitor center, which will be staffed by the National Park Service, was a venue that NPS identified as a need in 2000, but has since lacked the money to fully operate it. Overall, the NPS says it has a need for $11 billion in infrastructure.

Bradybaugh added that partnerships — like those with Kane County, the Zion Forever Project, the McLaws family and others — will allow Zion to have a visitor center in the east “with minimal impact to the park’s operation.”

Kane County Commissioner Brent Chamberlain said that development in East Zion has been led by the county and its partners, including the securing of a $15.5 million loan for the proposed visitor center.

Citing the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute’s report on the economic impact of Zion National Park as the tool for the new growth, Chamberlain said that the park is a vital part of Kane and Washington counties. The report, published in March 2021, found that the park’s east entrance could generate 545 jobs and $36.9 million per year from 2020 to 2030 for southwest Utah.

“It’s just its incredible country, so it provides an opportunity,” Chamberlain said, noting that visitors would be able to park their huge recreational vehicles at the visitor center and have the option to ride in shuttles and no longer slow down traffic through the Mount Carmel Tunnel.

For the Zion Forever Project, which helped to fundraise for the bike trails, the grand opening has finally come to fruition after many months of private-public conversations. Before riding his bike on the new trail, Mark Preiss, director for the Zion Forever Project, said, “I think it’s been inspired by our local community. And I think that when we think about pioneer spirit, this is sort of a next gen[eration] version of that.”

 

 

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EXCLUSIVE: Inside Zion National Park’s first electric bus to park’s east entrance

Posted on October 19, 2021

By K. Sofie Wills, St. George Spectrum & Daily News

Posted on October 27, 2021

Article 

The first electric shuttle for Zion National Park took its first drive to just outside the park’s east side on Wednesday, with officials celebrating the opening of the first 10 miles of mountain biking trails at the new East Zion trails project.

The Spectrum took an exclusive first ride on the shuttle’s maiden voyage from Kanab to Glendale with state and local officials, with Kane County Commissioner Brent Chamberlain at the helm.

With 14 seats, a wheelchair ramp and a quiet engine, leaders on board discussed the road to get to this point after years of grant-writing, applications, campaigning, managing and building to finally watch the shuttle run for the first time.

The $2 million shuttle was equipped with electronic mirrors inside that showed the driver the outside of the bus, with a dashboard battery level gauge positioned n the dash instead of a fuel gauge.

A little over a half-hour later, the shuttle landed in Glendale, just outside Zion’s east entrance at North Fork Road, where more than 60 people gathered to celebrate the trail opening and the East Zion Initiative.

Mark Preiss, director of the Zion Forever Project, the park’s charity arm, welcomed the shuttle by saying the East Zion Initiative is the next step toward the future of the park, the area and conservation.

“The next generation of our park experience in our public land experience is going to look like a collaboration that is not just about our visitors and their experience, but it’s about the health and well-being of our communities,” Preiss said. “We’re going to determine what that looks like for the next 100 years.”

Preiss said the shuttle project and the East Zion Initiative is “next-generation innovation” that requires extensive partnership to distribute the nearly 4 million visitors who come to the nation’s third most-visited park.

“No one makes money with visitors sitting in lines for hours,” Preiss said.

Tammie Bostick, executive director of Utah Clean Cities, said this project and their work to push Utah to clean energies has put the state on the radar as a leader for the entire country.

“I cannot tell you how inspiring your public-private collaboration is to the whole state. You are the poster child of creating a sustainable recreation and visitor economy,” Vicki Varela, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism, said.

The proposed $16 million visitor’s center, a second for the park, is just down the road from the bike trail and marked by a few tents. A formal opening for the shuttles and a groundbreaking for the visitor’s center will be held in mid-November.

Officials discussed the vision for the area around the trailhead, with a roundabout leading to an “EV Electric shuttle bus hub, and regional transportation center linking guests and visitors to other area towns and places,” a press release said.

Kane County Commissioner Brent Chamberlain said that even though the county is sparsely populated, it is doing some heavy work for the park and the state with the East Zion Initiative — something he calls the “holy Zion Initiative.”

“You’re standing at a point in time here where destiny has brought everything together … We’re not done yet,” he said.

Kane County Commissioner Brent Chamberlain said that even though the county is sparsely populated, it is doing some heavy work for the park and the state with the East Zion Initiative — something he calls the “holy Zion Initiative.”

“You’re standing at a point in time here where destiny has brought everything together … We’re not done yet,” he said.

Last August, The Spectrum wrote an exclusive investigative series into why the park’s aging shuttles could not receive funding to replace them, something leaders credit with leading to the federal Department of Transportation grant of $33 million for new electric shuttles in February.

Chargers for the shuttle were delivered to the Kanab Center in May, where future shuttles will charge overnight.

Jeff Bradybaugh, superintendent of Zion, said the trail system is a “tremendous recreational asset” and emphasized the need for visitors to “create” as part of their recreation.

“It’s so important for us to be out in nature, to explore our cultural sites to regenerate our spirit,” he said.

The ribbon-cutting is the first event of the eighth annual Utah Outdoor Recreation Summit held in Kanab, which will continue through Thursday.

“The Utah Outdoor Recreation Summit is a gathering place for all sectors of the outdoor

recreation industry to build a vision together for the future, health, and vitality of outdoor

recreation in Utah,” a press release said.

Funding and land for the East Zion Initiative came through land grants and easements from private landowners, donations to the Zion Forever Project, funding through the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation Grant, The National Park Foundation, Kane County, the release said. E-bikes for a ride through the new trail were provided by Magnum.

“So as we think about moving ahead, and we think about recreating, and we think about renewing our spirit. Let’s remember that our work is not done,” Bradybaugh said.

 

 

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Salt Lake City School District’s Transition to Clean Fuel

The Salt Lake City School District  (SLCSD) unveiled 500 solar panels situated on top of canopies at a bus barn located on the Westside of Salt Lake City. School officials say the solar panels will produce enough energy to power 45 percent of the facility including block heaters. The 500 solar panels cost the district upwards of $400,000 paid for in part by a $180,000 grant from Blue Ski Solar Energy.  The district says it plans to install 500 more solar panels on a west facing canopy, doing so will help the district run this bus facility on 95 percent solar energy. 

The district says this specific area was chosen because environmental studies show Salt Lake’s west side has some of the highest levels of pollution in the state, and the bus routes in this area will allow the district to utilize the buses to their full potential.  The electric school buses do cost more than traditional buses, but the higher purchase price will be offset by savings in fuel and maintenance costs. The real benefit is the environmental impact. The electric school buses are zero-emissions vehicles and are extremely quiet. Each panel has a 25 year life expectancy and supports the district’s commitment to alternative fuels, clean transportation and sustainable energy.

Every day, Utah’s fleet of 2,987 school buses provided transportation to 195,000 children. Out of this amount, which includes 41 school districts and charter schools, the vast majority run on diesel. To reduce emissions and adopt alternative sources of fuels, school districts are integrating compressed natural gas (CNG) buses that emit 40 to 86% less particulate matter into the air than diesel buses.      

Earlier this year, Salt Lake City School District introduced four Micro Bird electric school buses into its fleet. These electric buses replaced some of the district’s aging diesel buses. The district says the electric school buses, which are reportedly the first for the district and the state, were partially funded through the Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ’s) Volkswagen settlement program and Utah Clean Diesel Program (UCDP). 

“The District has been looking into all alternative-fuel school buses for several years, but when we were made aware of the grants available through DEQ, it gave us a shot of motivation to move forward with the electric buses,” Fleet Manager Ken Martinez said. 

Currently, SLCSD has a total of 100 buses in their fleet and intends to convert 20% to 25% of those buses to electric, with an eventual goal of converting 70% to 75% of its fleet to electric, according to the DEQ. The agency said that the district is also updating its bus depot to accommodate charging stations for the new electric buses. The charging stations will reportedly be housed under canopies equipped with solar panels that may eventually be used to provide part of the power to the buses

EV Grants 

SLCSD took advantage of grant money from the The Department of Air Quality’s Volkswagen (VW) Environmental Mitigation Trust. The state of Utah is a beneficiary of  $35 million. SLCSD received two rounds of funding from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality totaling more than $1.5 million which helped the district retire some of its older diesel-powered buses. The district says these grant money helped them purchase the new EV fleet.

Other Incentives

There are other federal incentives people can take advantage of when working to transition from a gas vehicle to an electrical vehicle. All-electric and plug-in hybrid cars purchased new or after 2010 may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500. The credit amount will vary based on the capacity of the battery used to power the vehicle. State and/or local incentives may also apply. Small neighborhood electric vehicles do not qualify for this credit, but they may qualify for another credit.

 

Utility/Private Incentives