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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.

 

Alternative Fuel Awareness Month in Utah 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

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A recap of Hydrogen @ Scale in Utah

Hydrogen @ Scale Event Overview

Hydrogen @ Scale in Utah is a turning point for Utah’s energy sector by highlighting various renewable hydrogen related projects. Our statewide partnerships are truly leading the way in implementing clean transportation options that make sense for both our urban and rural communities.  We are excited to be a part of this opportunity to highlight the innovation and high profile projects currently energizing our state. Utah Clean Cities, Lancer Energy and our close working network of energy sector partners and clean air advocates are focusing on advanced fuel and energy options to propel Utah into the future of clean transportation.

 

Full Speaker Session

 

 

 

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A Beginners Guide to Hydrogen Energy in Utah

By Jerad Giottonini

Utah Clean Cities and Lancer Energy is hosting Hydrogen @ Scale in Utah, an Advanced Fuels event focusing on hydrogen projects throughout the state. 

The event is on October 19, 2021 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the south steps of the Utah State Capitol. If you are interested in attending, please register here. 

 

A Beginners Guide to Hydrogen Energy in Utah 

Over the last decade, Hydrogen has become a major consideration in the realm of advanced and cleaner energy options, with the Bidens administration prioritizing the enhancement of hydrogen technologies and projects that acknowledge the “role that hydrogen must play, providing an incredible opportunity for innovation, development and market proliferation internationally” (FCHEA, 2021)

What is Hydrogen? 

Hydrogen (H2) is the simplest and most abundant element in the universe. It exists in water, hydrocarbons (such as methane), and organic matter and as an invisible gas, hydrogen can be used in a variety of technologies to harvest its energy. 

Depending on the source, hydrogen fuel may contain low levels of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Experts say, producing hydrogen from these compounds is one of the challenges of using hydrogen as a fuel.

 

How is Hydrogen Produced?

Hydrogen can be produced from fossil fuels, biomass, and water electrolysis with electricity. The environmental impact and energy efficiency of hydrogen depends on how it is produced. 

Natural Gas Reforming/Gasification: 

  •  Synthesis gas is a mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and a small amount of carbon dioxide. Syn gas is created by reacting natural gas with high-temperature steam. The carbon monoxide is reacted with water to produce additional hydrogen. A synthesis gas can also be created by reacting coal or biomass with high-temperature steam and oxygen in a pressurized gasifier. This converts the coal or biomass into gaseous components—a process called gasification. The resulting synthesis gas contains hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which is reacted with steam to separate the hydrogen (AFDC). 

Electrolysis: 

  • An electric current splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. If the electricity comes from a renewable source like solar or wind, the result will be considered renewable. (AFDC).
  • Renewable Liquid Reforming: Renewable liquid fuels, such as ethanol, are reacted with high-temperature steam to produce hydrogen near the point of end use (AFDC
  • Fermentation (Biomass): Biomass is converted into sugar-rich feedstocks that can be fermented to produce hydrogen (AFDC).

The U.S. The Department of Energy says hydrogen could help the United States transition to a more advanced energy option but the way hydrogen is produced must reduce overall emissions and provide a renewable and cleaner energy option from well-to-wheel. 

Below are projects that are currently underway in Utah to help explain the different types of hydrogen and how its energy is produced. 

Renewable Hydrogen is produced with no harmful greenhouse gases. Green hydrogen is made by using clean electricity from surplus renewable energy sources, like solar or wind power, to electrolyse water. Electrolysers use an electrochemical reaction to split water into its components of hydrogen and oxygen, emitting zero-carbon dioxide in the process.

The Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project is located 130 miles south of Salt Lake City. The project is a geological formation called the Salt Dome. The Salt Dome is considered by some to be the largest renewable energy reservoir in the world. 

The project aims to build a storage facility for 1,000 megawatts of clean power, partly by putting hydrogen into underground salt caverns. The owners, Mitsubishi Power say the project is scheduled to be completed by the year 2025 and would combine renewable hydrogen, solid-oxide fuel cells, and compressed air energy storage to produce enough energy to power 150,000 households. There are other forms of hydrogen capture happening across the state.

Carbon Captured Hydrogen is produced by SMR (steam methane reforming) using natural gas. All carbon is captured (99%) then sequestered or used in industrial applications. 

In Utah, AVF Energy is looking at a project that would use Invasive Tree species for a 99% carbon capture.  AVF Energy plans to convert the invasive wood into biochar which has multiple end uses from Green Coal replacement in Steel production to high quality fertiliser and soil amendment. Experts say the renewable hydrogen produced from this technology can be used in transportation applications as a future carbon negative energy source. The Carbon gas captured can be used for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) in oil wells in Eastern Utah or in Sequestration projects.  

Low Carbon Hydrogen is produced by SMR  (steam methane reforming) using natural gas. This capture requires a combination of renewable and carbon captured hydrogen.  

Located in the Utah Inland Port territory of Salt Lake City, Lancer Energy is building the state’s first super station. Lancer Energy says 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. 

Lancer Energy is in negotiations for a second super station to be located in Southern Utah. Lancer Energy says this station would connect the ports in Long Beach, California to the Inland Port in Salt Lake City all on renewable fuels. 

Zero Carbon Hydrogen is produced by electrolyzing water using electricity from nuclear power. In the electrolyser, electric energy is used to split water into Hydrogen and oxygen gases. 

Right now, there are no current projects designated as Zero Carbon. This process consumes massive amounts of water and due to the state’s severe drought conditions has been frowned upon by some at the state level. 

Carbon Negative Hydrogen that uses renewable sources and utilized carbon capture technology to remove more carbon than it produces to make a Green, low cost Hydrogen. 

Although hydrogen is a cleaner, more reliable source of energy that can be produced domestically, its long term impacts on the environment are unclear. The federal government is focusing on hydrogen to help address the impacts of harmful emissions, creating the next generation of workforce opportunity, and reducing our impacts to the changing climate. Utah Clean Cities and its partner Lancer Energy supports clean and renewable hydrogen and advanced fuels projects in Utah. 

To learn more about Hydrogen, visit: 

Department of Energy Hydrogen Program 

Alternative Fuels Data Center – Hydrogen Production and Distribution

EERE – Hydrogen Delivery 

White House Fact Sheet: President Biden sets 2030 Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Target Aimed at Creating Good-Paying Untion Jobs and Securing U.S. Leadership on Clean Energy Technologies (April 2021)

 

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Utah Clean Cities Awarded $1.8 Million in Federal Funding for Electric Vehicle Adoption

  MAY 16, 2021

Salt Lake City-based nonprofit Utah Clean Cities was awarded $1.8 million in federal funding last month for the advancement of electric vehicles in the state.

The $1.8 million comes from a partnership between Utah Clean Cities and the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Vehicle Technologies program.

According to Utah Clean Cities, the money will go towards efforts to further the adoption of electric vehicles in the state for both personal and commercial uses.

In a prepared statement, Utah Clean Cities said the infrastructure and education for the transition to electric vehicle technology must be in place for large scale adoption of electric vehicles to be successful.

Executive Director of Utah Clean Cities, Tammie Bostick said: “This project will allow Utah Clean Cities to further develop the electrification movement for both passenger vehicles and fleet vehicles within our state while sharing valuable expertise with our regional and national partners.”

The Park City City Council formally adopted new regulations regarding their electric vehicle infrastructure last November. The changes now require dedicated parking, infrastructure, and charging stations to support electric vehicles in new development and redevelopment projects.

Going forward, 20% of all new off-street parking in the city must be electric vehicle friendly with pre-installed underground wiring in place to support future charging stations. Additionally, 5% of new parking spaces must now have an electric vehicle charging station installed.

More information on Utah Clean Cities and the Department of Energy grant can be found here.

KPCW news reports on climate change issues are brought to you by the Park City Climate Fund at the Park City Community Foundation, an initiative that engages Park City in implementing local, high-impact climate solutions that have potential to be effective in similar communities.

Persuasive Art to Care for our Air

“Ms. Kim, I didn’t know this was a problem before today,” said one student at the end of our art lesson on persuasive art to raise awareness about air pollution and change behavior to reduce it.

Before COVID-19 caused a lockdown in March 2020, we had started an ambitious art project to create a large mural to encourage families to stop idling at pickup and drop off at our school, Mountain West Montessori Academy in South Jordan. This was designed to support Principal Angie Johnson’s kind requests sent through e-mail to families to stop idling as it was harming the health of children and staff at the entrance each day, twice a day. When I asked the 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade students in Lower Elementary (approximately 160 total) if they thought their voices, through art, could successfully change behavior and reduce idling, the response was loud and clear: yes!

Although we were able to put up the “Turn Your Key, Be Idle Free” signs at school that were generously donated by Utah Clean Cities, we had to wait until April 2021 to reintroduce the persuasive art project in a different way that was more adapted to schedule changes and social distancing. Instead of making the large mural, students made individual persuasive artworks to show families the problems that air pollution creates, to educate others about idling, and to suggest various ways we can all reduce air pollution.

The lesson introduced winter inversion, summer ozone, causes and effects, idling, and many ways we can all make a difference to reduce air pollution. It also showcased the artwork of environmental artists such as John Sabraw, Aida Sulova, and Chris Jordan to show students that art can be a powerful tool to help raise awareness and change behavior. Students gave their opinions about what messages the artists were trying to convey, using evidence and reasoning. They also looked at photographs of inversion in the Salt Lake Valley and of children in other cities where air pollution is a major problem, such as Beijing and Los Angeles, expressing complex feelings and empathy for both the air and the people.

Some students were not aware of an air pollution problem in the Salt Lake Valley and others did not know what idling was before the lesson. Some students shared that they had asthma and wanted to ask their neighbors who idle to please stop because it makes it harder for them to breathe. Many students came up with great ideas for how to convey their sadness to see air pollution, their anger when people pollute, their concern for the environment, and their suggestions for improvements (electric cars and tools, no more idling, using other modes of transportation that pollute less, such as biking or horseback riding to school!). Informed and inspired, they created their own art using discarded paper to persuade people to care more about the air.

All artwork was displayed in the school entrance on Earth Day so that everyone could see their messages, either from the car or by walking in to drop off or pick up students. When noticing everyone stopping to look at their art, they saw firsthand that their voices matter and are being heard. “Be Idle Free” posters were hung alongside their work and educational brochures with “Turn Your Key, Be Idle Free” decals were left in the entrance for students, families, and staff to help spread the word. Nearly everything was gone by the end of the day!

The generous donation of educational material and signs for our school has certainly helped students send out their message and has had an impact on our school community, as well as our air quality! I am very proud of the students for using their voices through art to help bring about change that will help Utah, and the world. It is my hope that their artwork can inspire other schools to make efforts to reduce air pollution. We greatly appreciate the support of Utah Clean Cities and believe that, thanks to their participation in our efforts, we have taken a true step forward in reducing air pollution at our school.

See the artwork below!

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Utah joins 14-state partnership to advance infrastructure for electric vehicles

Posted at 12:02 PM, May 03, 2021 and last updated 12:12 PM, May 03, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is joining 13 other states, the Department of Energy, and special interest groups to advance the infrastructure for electric vehicles in the United States.

The “Drive Electric USA” group aims to “engage individuals, utilities, legislators, dealerships and others towards removing adoption barriers and accelerating plug-in electric vehicle use in our states,” according to the organization’s website.

According to Utah Clean Cities, another group involved in the initiative, Utah is already ahead of the curve with its EV infrastructure. The state has more than 50 DC fast-charge stations.

“Utah’s focus will be building out rural and state highways. So, we’ll be focusing on gateway communities around national parks, and state and scenic byways, so that’s really exciting,” said Tammie Bostick, Executive Director, Utah Clean Cities.

Drive Electric USA’s plans include setting up EV “chapters” in the participating states, educating utilities and regulation officials, engaging in EV infrastructure planning, increasing the adoption of electric vehicle-based fleets, and working dealers to develop preferred dealer programs.

NASEO Releases Electric Vehicle Charging Needs Assessment

Utah Clean Cities Coalition and National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) release the “Electric Vehicle Charging Needs Assessment,” a report that identifies needs and opportunities for electric vehicle (EV) fast charging in rural and underserved areas of the intermountain west.

The Assessment was developed in partnership with the CORWest project, a three-year initiative to support EV infrastructure investment and educational opportunities in rural and underserved areas of the intermountain west, with an emphasis on gateway communities to national parks and other recreational destinations in the region. The CORWest project is a collaboration of the REV West states and Clean Cities Coalitions throughout the region. 

The Assessment summarizes key findings from a questionnaire administered to over 500 local governments, electric service providers, and parks or tourism representatives in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, and also reviews EV registration and mapping data to identify infrastructure gaps and other challenges to EV charging deployment in the region. The questionnaire results confirmed that “range anxiety,” lack of infrastructure near recreation sites, and the cost of the vehicles and stations remain significant barriers to EV infrastructure investment. In addition, respondents across the region cited the need for information and education campaigns, including highway signage, EV-focused tourism campaigns, and ride-and-drives. The report includes a summary of potential actions state agencies and Clean Cities Coalitions in the west can take to address these barriers and advance EV deployment.

To download the Assessment, click here.