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Getting North Carolina Ready for Electric Vehicle Charging

Electrification of transportation is exciting and challenging. Market forces are already pushing us in the direction of electric vehicles (EV), but our electric “refueling” infrastructure is lagging. Public and private investments are being made and more are coming in the form of grants, incentives, and substantial federal investments. In North Carolina alone, VW Settlement funds will bring ~$10 million this year.  And the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) National EV infrastructure program (NEVI) will invest more than $109 million each year over the next five years in North Carolina.  

Now, our challenge here in North Carolina is to prepare for this influx of funding, to ensure we are ready for it, and that we use it effectively and efficiently. This guidance document helps the reader understand how to get ready and where to find detailed guides for different aspects of building the new EV charging infrastructure.  

There are many many “guides” already published, so we sorted through them to find the best and give pointers to them all. Now, you can easily find the best resources for you in our guide to the guides: Getting North Carolina Ready for Electric Vehicle Charging. We encourage local government planners, managers, fleet officers, and finance & purchasing administrators to be aware of this “guide to the guides.”

Let’s get ready!

What You’ll Find in The Guide

Getting North Carolina Ready for Electric Vehicle Charging covers:

  • Charging for homeowners
  • Charging for renters (apartment, townhome and condo dwellers)
  • Charging at work
  • The state of EV charger deployment in North Carolina
  • Locally-sourced North Carolina EV charging guides
  • Links to several valuable guides from organizations like:

    • The U.S. Department of Transportation
    • The Cadmus Group (in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Transportation)
    • Advanced Energy
    • Plug-In NC 
    • The City of Raleigh
    • Sourcewell
    • NC Department of Administration
    • North Carolina Sheriff’s Association 

>> Click here to view the full guidance document.

Coming This Month: 2022 “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest Launches March 14

North Carolina students from kindergarten through high school are invited to submit their artwork for a chance to be featured on billboards across the state!

Show us how you help keep the air clean this Earth Day!

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) is excited to announce the 5th Annual “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest this March, where students residing in North Carolina from kindergarten through high school can submit their artwork focused on the theme of actions that individual families can take to reduce the amount of air pollution from vehicles. 

Winners will have their artwork featured on billboards across the state to help spread the word about ways that we all can help keep the air clean!

Artwork should focus on actions that people can take to reduce air pollution from vehicles. Examples include walking, biking, using public transportation, carpooling, using biofuels, electric vehicles, and more. You can learn about the alternatives at cleantransportation.org or fuelwhatmatters.org. Please make artwork family-friendly, non-partisan and non-copyrighted.

Artwork in a more horizontal rectangular shape (about the shape of a billboard) is recommended.

Recommended dimensions:

  • 400h x 840w pixels at 72 ppi
  • 400h x 1400w pixels at 72 ppi 
  • Save as JPG, PNG or BMP at maximum quality in RGB mode

Note: Keep in mind that text may be added on final billboards with the “Keep Our Air Clean” tagline. 

The winner will be chosen based on:

  • Relevance and appropriateness of the message, judged by NCCETC
  • Visual design, as determined by our judges
  • Public votes on our Facebook account

The official link and email to submit photos will be posted on March 14! Stay tuned on www.facebook.com/NCCleanTech and www.FuelWhatMatters.org!

The 50 States of Electric Vehicles 2021 Annual Review & Q4 2021 Update

Transportation Electrification Plans, Fast Charging Networks, & Underserved Communities in Focus During 2021

Raleigh, NC – (February 9, 2022) The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) released its 2021 annual review and Q4 2021 update edition of The 50 States of Electric Vehicles. The quarterly series provides insights on state regulatory and legislative discussions and actions on electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

The report finds that, for the second year in a row, all 50 states and DC took actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure during 2021 (see figure below). The greatest number of actions related to rebate programs, rate design, electric vehicle registration fees, and charging station deployment.

2021 State and Utility Action on Electric Vehicles

The report highlights ten of the top electric vehicle trends of 2021:

  • Utilities working to develop fast charging networks;
  • Dedicated support for low-income customers and underserved communities;
  • Utilities continue to file expansive transportation electrification plans;
  • Growing attention on medium- and heavy-duty vehicle electrification;
  • States and utilities using rebates to advance transportation electrification;
  • Consideration of demand charge alternatives based on load factor;
  • Growing use of the make-ready deployment model;
  • States setting zero-emission vehicle procurement targets;
  • Utilities developing managed charging programs; and
  • Policymakers addressing local barriers to charging infrastructure development.

 

“Policymakers continued showing strong interest in electric vehicles, introducing a large number of innovative bills to expand the market for electric vehicles,” observed Brian Lips, Senior Policy Project Manager at NCCETC. “Utilities, for their part, also demonstrated creativity in exploring ways they can participate in building out the necessary infrastructure to fuel the growing market.”

A total of 775 electric vehicle actions were taken during 2021, with activity increasing by 30% over 2020. The report notes the top ten states taking the greatest number or most impactful actions in 2021 were California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico, Hawaii, New Jersey, Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Nevada.

“Many states looked beyond the electrification of personal transportation towards non-personal transport,” noted Rebekah de la Mora, Policy Analyst at NCCETC. “Policies regarding commercial fleets, government fleets, or medium- and heavy-duty vehicles cropped up, leading the way to a more holistic landscape for transportation electrification policy.”

In Q4 2021, 43 states and DC took some type of action on electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. A total of 414 actions were tracked in Q4.

View the 50 States of Electric Vehicles Q4 Quarterly Report and Annual Review Executive Summary

View and Purchase the 50 States of Electric Vehicles 2021 Q3 Update FULL Report

View other 50 States Reports – Solar, Grid Modernization and Electric Vehicles

ABOUT THE N.C. CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY CENTER

The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University, advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, sustainable energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information about the  Center, visit: http://www.nccleantech.ncsu.edu. Twitter: @NCCleanTech

2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Webinar Series

The 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Webinar Series came to an end last month after bringing together industry leaders and top performing fleet managers to share real-world deployment examples of sustainable fleet technologies through 15 webinar sessions. The full webinar recordings are now available online, including strategies for achieving fleet management from nationally recognized fleets.

The 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Webinar Series (SFTWS) was offered through a collaborative partnership between the NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC), The 100 Best Fleets and NAFA Fleet Management Association (NAFA). “The fleet operations and strategies shared in the SFT Webinar Series are the gold standard in the industry,” said Richard Sapienza, director of NCCETC’s Clean Transportation program. 

Each SFTWS session included in-depth presentations from fleets honored in The 100 Best Fleets in the Americas, an award program that recognizes peak-performing fleet operations in the government fleet section. Originally founded by Tom C. Johnson, The 100 Best Fleets was acquired by NAFA earlier this year to expand their awards and recognition programs.

The first session of SFTWS, 4 Essential Traits for 2021 & Beyond, highlighted 3 fleet managers who successfully increased fleet efficiency, productivity and operational effectiveness, propelling their fleets into The 100 Best Fleets. The webinar panel included the only fleet manager to take 3 different fleets into the top 100, a manager of a first place winner of The 100 Best Fleets and one who was in The 100 Best Fleets for 20 years straight.

The top 100 best fleets in the Americas for 2021 winners were announced in a SFTWS webinar in April, celebrating the hard work and accomplishments of top fleets and their teams. In Best Practices of the Top Fleets of The 100 Best Fleets 2021, the top fleets shared how they distinguished themselves among 38,000 public fleets in North America. 

“These sessions are intended for the entire team to listen in,” Sapienza said. “Fleets can use it as an opportunity to benchmark their operations with knowledge that can be applied immediately.”

The SFTWS also included several sessions focused on alternative fuels including electric vehicles. In the United States, public and private fleets are taking steps toward transitioning away from conventional fuel vehicles but still have uncertainties about the complex process of electrification. While electric vehicle (EV) adoption is forecasted to expand for private citizens, fleets with thousands of vehicles have many more steps to take before they will be able to phase out old vehicles.

Fleet managers can learn more about the comprehensive involvement needed to plan, coordinate, budget and execute fleet electrification from a panel of experts in the session Fleet Electrification Planning“Electrification is inevitable, it’s coming,” said Electrification Coalition’s Jared Walker. “We want to be a resource to provide best practices, strategy, market forecasting and all manners of assistance to our partners as they’re going through this transition.”

Several EV deployment cases were presented in Real World EV Durability, Long Term Maintenance & Operating Cases and Electric Vehicle Use Case Deployment Examples to share lessons and methods for successful EV deployment from the fleets already doing it. 

ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY FLEET MAINTENANCE & OPERATIONS FROM THE 2021 GREEN GARAGE WINNERS

The Green Garage Contest Winners Announcement 2021 concluded the SFTWS by highlighting the innovative and simple ways to “green the maintenance garage”. Winning contestants showed comprehensive top to bottom commitment to green vehicle maintenance and environmentally friendly facilities features and systems.

The Green Garage Contest, organized by NAFA, first launched in 2020 with support from NCCETC, No Spill Systems, RinseKit and the United Soybean Board. The contest was created to bring together the most progressive and environmentally-committed fleets to share the best practices for eco-friendly vehicle fleet maintenance garages.

Tom C. Johnson, author of the Green Fleet Awards and the Green Garage Contest, is the Director of the Green Garage Contest. The winners of the contest are the “best of the best stewards of the environment” Johnson said. 

AND THE WINNER IS…

The Central Fleet Management (CFM) department in the City of Chesapeake, Virginia tied with the University of California Irvine Fleet Services for the Green Garage’s number one fleet for 2021. 

Previously, CFM ranked as the number one fleet for The 100 Best Fleets in 2017 for its guiding goals of operating an environmentally sound fleet, preventing the wasteful use of our resources and practicing environmental stewardship.

CFM prides itself on setting the example for sustainable operations, and it became the first department in the city to start a recycling program in 2005. According to the Fleet Manager George Hrichak, the recycling program has generated over $190,000 in revenue so far.

The University of California Irvine is also no stranger to sustainability, earning second place in the 2020 Green Garage Contest for its research on electric buses powered by hydrogen fuel cells. “They are leaders in hydrogen,” noted Johnson.

2021 GREEN GARAGE CONTEST TOP 10 FLEETS:

  1. Tie
Central Fleet Management, City of Chesapeake, VA The University of CA, Irvine
  1. West Valley Construction, CA
  2. Miami-Dade County, ISD Fleet Management Division, FL
  3. Laketran, OH
  4. Village of Oak Park, IL 
  5. University of California Davis Fleet Services
  6. NYC Parks Department, NY
  7. City of Long Beach, CA
  8. Cobb County Fleet Management, GA
Sustainable Fleet Technology Webinar Series 2021:

Click on the webinar titles below to watch the full recording.

 

Green Mobility in the Southeast

The State of the Green Mobility Industry in the Southeast: Market Trends and Policies Driving Transportation Electrification

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) recently published The State of the Green Mobility Industry in the Southeastern United States, a market study commissioned by the Netherlands Embassy in Washington, D.C. to gain an understanding of the current state of the industry for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure and their related supply chain, as well as biofuels and hydrogen, and to understand market opportunities for Dutch companies.

Electric vehicle adoption across the United States is happening faster than previously forecasted, with annual electric vehicle (EV) sales on track for around 5.6 million units in 2021, up from 2.1m in 2019 according to a report released earlier this month by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Several automakers have also committed to produce only electric vehicles, including General Motors, which announced that its vehicle lineup would be entirely electric by 2035.

Still, EVs are in the early stages of adoption and many states have enacted policies and incentives to mitigate the relatively higher up-front costs of electric vehicles and expand the charging infrastructure needed to support them in order to accelerate the adoption and deployment of electric vehicles. Recently, the US Senate passed an infrastructure bill containing approximately $12 billion in support for electric vehicles, including $7.5b for a nationwide charging network.

With the focus on green mobility, including electric and alternative fuel vehicles, growing nationwide, it is expected that green mobility opportunities will also increase in the US Southeast. However, the outlook for these opportunities varies significantly by state and technology depending on adoption rate, state policies and utility efforts, and existing manufacturing facilities and infrastructure.

The Embassy of the Netherlands commissioned the report to be a resource for Dutch companies interested in exploring opportunities in sustainable mobility in  the Southeast US. For the purposes of the report, green mobility is defined to include the following: electric vehicles, batteries, smart charging, charging infrastructure, hydrogen and synthetic fuels.

The State of the Green Mobility Industry in the Southeastern United States also provides an overview of recent developments in federal and state policy, utility programs, and brief descriptions of stakeholders in each state, including private businesses, convening non-profits and industry groups, and relevant research centers. The report covered the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

NCCETC staff from both the Policy & Markets program as well as the Clean Transportation program wrote the report and consulted with several of the US Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Coalitions across the southeastern United States, including the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition, Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition, East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition, Louisiana Clean Fuels, Middle-West Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition, and Palmetto Clean Fuels Coalition.

Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina have become leaders in the deployment of EV charging infrastructure in the Southeast. Furthermore, Tennessee is showing great strength for fast charging deployment specifically, with the Department of Environment and Conservation working in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority to develop a statewide EV fast charging network.

The electric vehicle, battery and EV infrastructure manufacturing industries are closely related, with several states having different opportunities across the green mobility landscape in the Southeast. South Carolina and Tennessee lead the region in vehicle manufacturing, while Georgia leads in battery manufacturing and North Carolina has a strong electronics industry supporting electric vehicle supply equipment.

“Legal and regulatory barriers can affect the pace and location of EV technology deployment, while clear policy goals can both provide market certainty and accelerate deployment,” said Autumn Proudlove, a contributing author on the report and NCCETC’s Senior Policy Program Director.

The Policy & Markets team at NCCETC maintains the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), a comprehensive online database of federal, state and utility policies and incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency. Earlier this year, DSIRE announced the addition of incentive programs for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure to the database.

“Electric utilities are also taking a leadership role in advancing transportation electrification in several Southeast states through direct infrastructure deployment, incentive programs, and special rate offerings,” added Proudlove. Customers in states such as Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana and South Carolina can benefit from rebates for residential and commercial Level 2 charging stations that serve these customers’ private needs.

In August 2021, a new executive order set ambitious targets to make half of all new vehicles sold in the US in 2030 zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs), heightening attention from federal and state governments to accelerate the deployment of EVs and charging infrastructure to support transportation electrification. These federal policies will continue to drive demand higher across the nation, resulting in an increase in EV manufacturing in the automobile industry in the southeastern US.

For interested Dutch investors, the southeastern states with the greatest opportunity depend on which aspects of the green mobility industry best fit the interests of Dutch companies, according to the report. One of the largest cross-cutting trends for the region is the importance of the automotive industry. “Most of the states in the Southeast are home to either vehicle assembly plants or automotive supply chain manufacturers,” said Heather Brutz, one of the report’s authors and Finance & Operations Manager for NCCETC’s Clean Transportation program.

Additionally, several Southeast states like Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina had a higher prevalence of manufacturing specifically related to battery electric or fuel cell vehicles. Biodiesel and ethanol production has lost popularity, but there are still users and producers of those fuels in the Southeast.

Renewable diesel, on the other hand, is gaining popularity in the US. Due to the refining process for renewable diesel, regions with existing refineries are more likely to have the needed infrastructure and skilled workforce needed for renewable diesel refineries. “This benefits the Gulf Coast states that already have existing refinery industries, especially Louisiana,” noted Brutz.

In the findings of the market study, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee presented some of the greatest manufacturing opportunities for electric vehicle, battery, and charging infrastructure manufacturing. Hydrogen production also shows potential in the Southeast, with Louisiana leading in hydrogen production.

The region’s existing manufacturing infrastructure, combined with federal, state, and utility policies and plans to expand green mobility, offer an opportunity to capitalize on the growing electric and alternative fuel vehicle markets. Several of the Southeast states present significant opportunities in different elements of green mobility, from EV charging infrastructure manufacturing and deployment to production of alternative fuels such as synthetic fuels and hydrogen.


ABOUT THE NC CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY CENTER
The NC Clean Energy Technology Center is a UNC System-chartered Public Service Center administered by the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University. Its mission is to advance a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. The Center provides service to the businesses and citizens of North Carolina and beyond relating to the development and adoption of clean energy technologies. Through its programs and activities, the Center envisions and seeks to promote the development and use of clean energy in ways that stimulate a sustainable economy while reducing dependence on foreign sources of energy and mitigating the environmental impacts of fossil fuel use.

 

Strategies & Success Stories for Sustainable Fleet Management On-Demand Now

Eleven FREE Sessions from the 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Virtual Conference Available to Stream Online

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center recently concluded the 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Virtual Conference featuring the latest and greatest in sustainable fleet technology, operations and implementation. The conference consisted of 11 free webinars on best practices to make fleets run more efficiently, with valuable presentations and conversations from award-winning speakers from the industry.

All webinar recordings and resources are available to stream online now so you can access on-demand knowledge and expertise from fleet managers across the country. In total, there were 900 registered attendees for the 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology (SFT 2021) Virtual Conference webinar sessions.

The SFT Conference is an annual event hosted by the Clean Transportation program at the NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) to share strategies for achieving fleet sustainability from experts in the private and public sector. Fleet managers and clean technology innovators gather to discuss lessons learned across the industry for implementing and integrating innovative clean transportation technologies and alternative fuel operations, including the implementation in the biofuels, electric, natural gas, hydrogen and propane arenas.

Director of NCCETC’s Clean Transportation program, Richard Sapienza, surveyed fleet managers to find relevant session topics to highlight the current technologies, topics and issues impacting today’s fleet industry. “We want to build a community where ideas can be exchanged and we can provide support and strategies for dealing with new technologies to drive efficiency in fleets,” Sapienza said in the first session of SFT 2021.

The Future of Fleet Electrification

SFT 2021 kicked off on September 9 with “Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Planning Best Practices and Considerations for Today and the Future” showcasing effective planning and modeling along with real-world use cases to support an electrified future for different use cases .  Currently, public and private fleets across the country are preparing for the electric vehicle (EV) revolution and, while significant consumer adoption is forecasted, transitioning entire fleets away from conventional fuel vehicles is a much more complex process than individuals going electric.

Attendees of the webinar heard from a panel of experts including David Dunn, Division Manager of the Fleet & Facilities management Division for the City of Orlando, Florida. Dunn emphasized the critical roles public fleets have in leading the EV revolution and being the agent of change, from installation and maintenance of infrastructure to creating solutions for grid vulnerability.

Part of being a leader means embracing change, and Dunn was proud to share his fleet’s latest change- the addition of a DANNAR Mobile Power Station® (MPS). The MPS is a heavy-duty EV designed for infrastructure maintenance and disaster response, equipped with a two-way charger and inverter to provide clean energy for single-day or multiple-day work requirements.

“This [MPS] is a charger, this is a generator, this is a work platform, this is a power station,” Dunn explained. “This is one way to attack the grid vulnerability issue, because you can charge several vehicles off of this one if you need to.”

Electrification was the focus of several SFT 2021 sessions, and those interested in learning more about charging solutions can benefit from the in-depth “Innovative Charging Solutions” webinar which covered power requirements, associated costs and time hurdles involved in meeting the charging needs of diverse use cases.

The last session of SFT 2021, “Future Proofing Electric Charging Infrastructure”, discussed steps to fleet electrification and considerations for fleets to be ready for the future, as infrastructure deployment continues to be a moving target with needs and technology rapidly changing.

Hot Topic – Alternative Fuel Sessions Popular Amongst Attendees

Alternative fuels such as hydrogen and natural gas have proven to be viable ways for fleets to reduce emissions, and two of the most widely attended SFT 2021 sessions included topics in this arena. Attendees learned from the top fleets in the United States, including recent winners of both The 100 Best Fleets in the Americas and The Green Fleet Awards.

“Quite often, when deploying alternative fuel vehicles and sustainable technologies, there’s an increased cost in acquisition, but there are a number of different ways for fleets to mitigate these costs,” said Sapienza.

Typically, alternative fuel vehicles have greater up-front costs than conventional fuel vehicles. However, there can be cost benefits with regard to maintenance and operations costs, as well as vehicle useful life. The webinar “Total Cost of Ownership Comparisons of Alternative Fuel Vehicles versus Conventional Fuel Vehicles” addresses these concerns with a life cycle cost analysis and features examples from top fleets across the country using alternative fuels in their operations.

One of the speakers from this webinar was Andrew Burnham from the Argonne National Laboratory which supports the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program. Argonne has developed the Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Transportation (AFLEET) tool. The AFLEET spreadsheet was designed to examine light and heavy duty vehicles for metrics like petroleum use, greenhouse gas emissions and more to find the total cost of ownership.

There are many opportunities for fleet’s to mitigate the higher acquisition costs associated with alternative fuel vehicles, including state and federal level funding and incentives. The “Funding Sources and Creative Financing for Alternative Fuel Vehicles” session shared resources and tips on how to take advantage of creative financing options for fleets to achieve their sustainability goals.

Other session topics included “Working with your Utility and Understanding Fleet Charging Costs”, “Idle Reduction: Simple & Impactful” and success stories for specific transportation applications of natural gashydrogen and propane.

To view all of the past webinars and sessions from NCCETC Clean Transportation, Sustainable Fleet Webinar Series from NCCETC and The 100 Best Fleets, as well as the Sustainable Fleet Technology Virtual Conference series and others, click here.

Currently, the clean transportation team is hosting weekly webinars through the Sustainable Fleet Technology Webinar Series, a collaborative partnership with NAFA Fleet Management Association and The 100 Best Fleets, to share the best practices and information on the latest fleet technologies.  Register for an upcoming SFT Webinar online now.

Stay tuned for future updates about the 6th annual 2022 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference online at sustainablefleetexpo.com.

NC Cooperative Demonstration of Vehicle-to-Grid Smart Charger Shows Economic Value

Electric vehicles (EVs) have the potential to be more than just a means of transportation now that more automakers are selling vehicles compatible with vehicle-to-grid technology, like Nissan LEAF, Ford F150 Lightning, and the Thomas Built C2 Jouley school bus. Bidirectional capable charging stations can transform electric cars, buses, garbage trucks, fleet vehicles and more into mobile energy storage banks.

Preliminary findings from a demonstration of two-way, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology in North Carolina show the economic potential for using bidirectional charging technologies to feed energy stored in electric vehicle batteries back to charging sites, especially when the grid is experiencing high demand. 

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) is coordinating with Roanoke Electric Cooperative (REC) to demonstrate and evaluate the economic case for the use of a two-way charger made by Fermata Energy, maker of the first EV charger certified for the North American standard for bidirectional charging. The project also benefits from support from partners including Advanced Energy, Clean Energy Works, and Environmental Defense Fund.

REC’s headquarters in the rural town of Ahoskie, NC, is the demonstration site for the project, where technicians for the utility’s growing broadband business use the utility’s two Nissan LEAF electric vehicles. The cooperative provides electricity and broadband services to a wide variety of industrial, recreational, educational, community and other interests in addition to farms in northeast North Carolina.

The two-way “smart” charger provides power to Roanoke Electric’s two EV cars, and it is one of the first chargers delivered from Fermata’s manufacturing site in Danville, Virginia. This charger not only curtails a vehicle’s charging in response to peak system demand, but also, it can discharge the energy stored in a connected EV to meet some of the demand at the site when demand on the grid is high. 

The V2G charging technology was thoroughly tested by Underwriters Laboratory to meet the North American standard for bidirectional charging. The purpose of this current demonstration has been to illuminate the value potential of V2G for fleet managers, energy professionals and utility companies— and the project is well on its way to accomplishing that goal.

Initial Results

A common question from fleet managers is, “how can I be sure the vehicle will be fully charged when I need it?”  In summary, the intelligence of the bidirectional system’s software enables it to be programmed to meet the fleet owners’ needs.

When the V2G system is responding to system-wide peak demand events, they are scheduled in advance, so a fleet manager can choose to reserve the vehicle for the grid (or the building) at that time as if it were reserved for another driver, while simply leaving the vehicle plugged in.  The impetus for this decision is knowing how much it would be worth to leave the vehicle plugged-in for grid operations at that time.  After the bidirectional event, the system allows scheduled recharging to be programmed in a way that meets the fleet operator’s needs while providing transparency about the monetary value the vehicle can provide at different times for grid operations.

Fermata Energy’s FE-15 is capable of providing 15 kilowatts of power both to the car and back to the site served by the grid. REC schedules dispatch of the on-board battery in response to predicted peaks, which usually lasts two to three hours. Using only one of REC’s Nissan LEAFs, the V2G system has been able to reduce the utility’s load, on average, by 14.14 kW during the entirety of the 85 event hours to date, across a variety of operating conditions. 

As an example, during a window of recent events, the two-way EV charger discharged the EV battery at 14 kW on average, and it saved the cooperative nearly $440.

The results from this small window suggest savings of over $2,660 a year per two-way charger. The value of this single unit hints at the potential for much bigger savings when multiplied by many units, serving multiple EVs or integrated with entire fleets of EVs. While some chargers may not have an EV connected during every peak period, utilities will develop experience over time with a minimum fraction of availability across thousands of EVs and two-way charging stations, accessing hundreds of MWh of energy storage on-board local EVs.

In addition to system-wide savings, V2G chargers can also create savings for non-residential customers that pay demand charges. Despite having relatively modest demand charges of $9.50/kW, Fermata’s software and charger strategically dispatched the Nissan LEAF battery to reduce REC’s headquarters building demand charges by $234 over a two month period. At larger facilities, Fermata has demonstrated the FE-15 is capable of capturing the full 15 kW in savings possible, and in parts of the country where demand charges can surpass $20/kW, customers could realize savings of over $300 a month.

For REC and its members, and any utility with demand charge and demand response programs in which V2X technology can participate, the benefits of system-wide savings as well as customer savings can be realized simultaneously. Using REC’s local and system demand charges, each FE-15 operating at maximum capacity could result in $3,500 to $4,000 of savings each year.

Roanoke Electric has also been able to demonstrate another application that V2X technology makes possible for improving energy assurance and reliability. REC’s facility has an on-site generator that allows it to isolate itself from the grid, and Fermata’s V2X charger can discharge the Nissan LEAF battery to partially power the facility either by dispatching stored energy when the site’s usage is highest, or by reacting to scheduled discharges for a set duration. The ability for smart charging to respond to an islanded load powered by the generator increases the resilience of sites that use generators as back-up power systems.

These results have important implications for the affordability of electricity, both for grid operators and for the member owners of the electric cooperative. REC’s CEO Curtis Wynn has underscored the improvements to grid utilization that the utility can attain when distributed storage is available to member-owners on the Roanoke Electric grid.

The Potential of Vehicle-to-Grid Technology

As public and private fleets in the United States replace internal-combustion engine vehicles with EVs, integration of V2G technology could enable EVs to serve as energy reservoirs to help keep the grid running smoothly during demand peaks and during system outages. 

In this demonstration at REC, the dollar savings appear to nearly offset the cost of the EVs. The cooperative’s two new Nissan LEAFs with 62kWh battery capacities are leased at less than $250 per month, and the demonstration has documented a generated value of as high as $230 a month. The implications for dropping the net cost of electric mobility to Roanoke Electric member-owners is tremendous.

On a residential scale, electric vehicle drivers could use vehicle-to-building technology to power their homes during lengthy blackouts. With a bidirectional charging system, homeowners could pull power from their electric vehicle batteries to keep fridges, lights, the internet and heating and cooling systems on in their homes, especially when jeopardized by heat waves or hypothermia as seen this year in Texas.

Vehicle-to-building technology could also keep the power on for critical services such as hospitals and shelters during extreme weather conditions and other emergency outages, reducing or even eliminating the cumulative numbers of hours these essential systems have to use backup diesel generators. 

As the demonstration continues, REC staff are exploring a pilot application of the technology with commercial customers, focusing first on locations having higher voltage service — in line with the design of the FE-15 device.

John Bonitz, a specialist for NCCETC’s Clean Transportation Program, said, “Preparing for a future where fleets of electric buses and cars will be electrified, this demonstration at Roanoke Electric Cooperative is helping prove the benefits and economic value of integrating V2G technology to shave peaks, improve grid utilization and increase resilience – all while helping the cooperative and its members save money. And we’re honored to be involved.” 


ABOUT THE TEAM

This demonstration is possible only due to a unique partnership between six organizations:  Roanoke Electric Cooperative serves about 14,000 accounts in Northeastern North Carolina out of their headquarters in Ahoskie, NC.  Fermata Energy is a company created for the dual purposes of accelerating the adoption of EVs and accelerating the transition to a renewable energy future, and it is their bi-directional EV charger and proprietary software system that allow electric vehicles to earn money while they are parked.  Clean Energy Works provides advisory services for accelerating investment in grid-edge solutions.  Advanced Energy is a nonprofit energy consulting firm that assists utilities with program design and electric transportation initiatives. Environmental Defense Fund, a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems, including supporting policies that accelerate transportation electrification to create a zero-emission future.  The NCCETC’s Clean Transportation Program is supporting the demonstration with analysis, technical assistance and facilitation. NCCETC also hosts the largest outreach and engagement events in the region on sustainable fleets, the Sustainable Fleet Technology virtual conference series.

DEQ Invites Public for Comments on Draft Phase 2 Volkswagen Mitigation Plan Until September 7

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)’s Division of Air Quality is currently accepting public comment on the state’s Draft Phase 2 Mitigation Plan to invest $67 million in Volkswagen Settlement funds. The Draft Phase 2 plan focuses on efforts to reduce pollution impacts while incentivizing zero emission vehicles and outreach to under-resourced communities.

The funds represent North Carolina’s share of the $2.9 billion federal settlement with Volkswagen (VW) due to its misrepresentation of diesel emission standards in certain vehicles. The Division of Air Quality was designated as the lead agency to manage the project in 2017 by Governor Roy Cooper, and Wilmington Trust officially named North Carolina as a State Beneficiary in January 2018.

Phase 1 Awards were announced in 2020 and the competitive application process resulted in 116 proposals for two grant programs: the Diesel Bus and Vehicle Program and the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Infrastructure Program. The awards included $12.2 million for school bus replacements, $6.1 million for transit bus replacements, $4.2 million for on-road heavy duty equipment such as refuse haulers, dump trucks and debris trucks, and $3.4 million for zero-emission vehicles DC Fast Charge stations.

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) partnered with the Division of Air Quality to host a series of public information sessions in July to explain the draft plan to those interested in receiving funds for eligible projects. The recordings and presentations from the public information meetings can be found online here

A series of in-person public information sessions will also be held for counties eligible in the Historically Under-Resourced Counties Outreach Program. Additional meeting dates, locations and times will be posted on the DEQ Volkswagen Program webpage.

The Historically Under-Resourced County Outreach Program is being developed by the DEQ to help counties that historically lack resources needed to effectively identify eligible vehicles for grant programs and submit quality applications. The DEQ’s Draft Phase 2 Mitigation Plan identifies 31 Historically Under-Resourced Counties eligible for maximum funding amounts allowed by the VW Mitigation Consent Decree.

Public agencies as well as public/private partnerships will be eligible for Phase 2 funding. The Draft Phase 2 VW Mitigation Plan currently allocates 80 percent of funding to the Diesel Bus & Vehicle Replacement Program and 15 percent for the ZEV Infrastructure program. Through the Diesel Bus & Vehicle Replacement Program, 40 percent of Phase 2 funding will go towards replacing school buses, 20 percent of funding will be eligible for transit bus replacements and another 20 percent will be eligible for clean heavy-duty equipment and vehicle replacements.

The DEQ’s ZEV Infrastructure program was designed to expand the state’s ZEV charging infrastructure network along priority designated corridors. Phase 2 proposes a dedicated allocation for light-duty charging projects and the DEQ plans to coordinate with the NC Department of Transportation to determine optimal locations for these EV charging stations for state fleet vehicles and attractions on state owned property.

“These funds from the VW Settlement represent an opportunity to advance clean and sustainable transportation in North Carolina,” said Heather Brutz, Finance & Operations Manager for NCCETC’s Clean Transportation program. “We encourage interested parties to read over the plan and submit comments on how this round of funding will be allocated.”

Comments on the Draft Phase 2 Mitigation Plan may be submitted online via Microsoft Forms or emailed to daq_NCVWGrants@ncdenr.gov. Voicemail comments will also be accepted at 919-707-8429.

All comments will be accepted until September 7, 2021 at 5 p.m.

NCCETC’s Clean Transportation Program Advances Public Education

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC)’s Clean Transportation program propels the development, awareness and use of alternative fuels and advanced transportation technologies. Our clean transportation program’s outreach and education initiatives include workshops, meetings, conferences and communication campaigns highlighting the benefits of using clean transportation technologies- from alternative fuel to sustainable fleet management.

Currently, the clean transportation team is hosting weekly webinars through the Sustainable Fleet Technology Webinar Series, a collaborative partnership with NAFA Fleet Management Association and The 100 Best Fleets, to share the best practices and information on the latest fleet technologies. 

Heather Brutz staff profileThe clean transportation team also provides technical assistance in the form of training and fleet assessments. Heather Brutz, Finance and Operations Manager for the clean transportation program, was on a team that conducted a quantitative analysis evaluating the potential impacts of alternative fuel vehicles on transportation revenue in North Carolina. “My analysis showed that the current electric vehicle fee covers the lost revenue from the gas tax that electric vehicles do not pay because they do not use gasoline,” Brutz said.

John Bonitz staff profileNCCETC’s staff helps to diversify fuel supplies, reduce emissions and support cleaner air and greater energy security. John Bonitz, a specialist on the clean transportation team, assists in administering federal funding through the Clean Fuel Advanced Technology (CFAT) project which focuses on reducing transportation-related emissions. The CFAT project is funded with federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funds provided by the NC Department of Transportation. Bonitz supports the CFAT project by alerting fleets when applications open, processing these applications and collecting quarterly reports. 

Bonitz is also a part of the first electric cooperative demonstration of a new electric-vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charger created by Fermata Energy. This electric vehicle (EV) charger does more than power an EV – it’s bi-directional, which means it can pull the power from the vehicle’s batteries back into the electric grid. Last year, Fermata Energy asked Roanoke Electric Cooperative in Ahoskie, North Carolina to help demonstrate this V2G charger using the co-op’s two leased Nissan Leaf EVs. “Working with Roanoke Electric Cooperative to document their demonstration of dollar values from a bi-directional charger has been, by far, the most rewarding project yet,” Bonitz said. 

Rick Sapienza staff profileNew transportation technologies are always on the horizon and U.S. fleets are currently in a frenzy to electrify, according to Richard Sapienza, Director of the Clean Transportation program. So, the clean transportation team recently hired two new clean transportation specialists.  “I welcome the expertise and assistance of our two new hires, Lisa Poger and Alrik Lunsford,” Sapienza said. “Both have significant and relevant industry experience and can hit the ground running.”

Sapienza has more than 35 years of industry experience under his sleeve and strives to support public and private fleets as well as the public consumer, giving them the knowledge to make informed decisions. For 2021, Sapienza is looking forward to doing more public education through webinars, conferences and demonstration events. Sapienza explained, “The reach and impact that these events have across the industry makes me proud to be involved in this important effort.”

GET TO KNOW THE NEWEST MEMBERS OF THE TEAM

Lisa Poger, Senior Clean Transportation Specialist

Lisa Poger is an environmental scientist and has worked for regulated electric utility industries for 15 years. She has assisted in several programs centered around electric vehicles and their implementation through outreach and education efforts to advance transportation adoption across the state.

What kind of expertise are you bringing to/focusing on at the Center?

I bring a utility perspective to NCCETC for transportation electrification.

What experience in the clean energy industry have you previously had?

I have over a decade of experience in the utility and electric generation industry with a focus on renewables and demand response, identifying and creating new opportunities for cleaner energy solutions. Prior to joining NCCETC, I managed electric transportation projects and led the statewide electric vehicle collaborative, Plug-in NC, at Advanced Energy North Carolina. Plug-in NC brought together industry stakeholders to identify and address barriers affecting electric transportation market transformation.

Alrik Lunsford, Clean Transportation Specialist

Alrik Lunsford is native to Durham, NC and received his bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts and Design from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. He’s also an alum of North Carolina Central University, where he received a post graduate degree in Public Administration. 

What kind of expertise are you bringing to/focusing on at the Center?

I am an experienced grant writer with an array of education and marketing strategies to foster both learning and partnerships. My expertise lies in design and product branding, attention to detail and the ability to foster relationships with other organizations. 

What experience in the clean energy industry have you previously had?

Previously, I oversaw Clean Fuel Advanced Technologies grant activities while serving as an Education and Outreach partner to NCCETC. During this time I increased stakeholder awareness of clean energy practices through publications, facilitating training, workshops and grant writing.

I also co-facilitated Rural Planning Organization transportation meetings that determined transportation project funding for local counties. The information gleaned from these presentations helped guide local elected officials and technical staff on both high and low priority issues governed by the NC Department of Transportation statutes and policies.

Posted by Nicole Deck

Particle Falls art exhibit in Winston-Salem

Particle Falls projected on the Stevens Center building in downtown Winston-Salem, NC. Photos provided by Clean Air Carolina
The orange fireball represents the amount of particulate matter in the air in real time, a form of pollution that can negatively affect your health just by breathing.

Winston-Salem’s 10-story tall Stevens Center was illuminated last month, displaying a giant animated light art projection of a blue waterfall turning into a fireball.
But the art wasn’t just for show — the spectacle represented the amount of particulate matter in the air in real time, a form of air pollution that can negatively affect your health just by breathing.
The animation, Particle Falls: Air Made Visible, was designed by artist Andrea Polli, Art and Ecology professor at the University of New Mexico, by using specialized computer software. It is generated by translating real-time particulate matter data from the surrounding air, using a nephelometer — an instrument that takes in air samples and gathers data about the concentration of particle pollution. A computer program then transforms the data into visual bursts of color over the background of blue light.
“With this particular exhibit, it’s so beautiful … yet it stands for something that can be so ugly,” said Dr. Stephanie Dance-Barnes, Associate Professor of Cellular & Molecular Biology at Winston-Salem State University.
Particulate matter, which occurs year-round, is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets, the smallest measuring 2.5 microns or less in diameter – just 1/30th the width of a human hair, according to Clean Air Carolina. While larger particles known as soot affect your health, it is the fine particulate matter that is more dangerous because it can be inhaled deeply into the lungs, enter the bloodstream and cross the blood-brain barrier.
There is no safe level of particulate matter.
“Most air pollution in North Carolina is invisible, so it’s not on most people’s radar at all,” said June Blotnick, Executive Director of Clean Air Carolina. “So this particular public art installation gets people’s attention, and gets them to start asking questions.”
Winston-Salem has been ranked as the 142nd most polluted cities in 2016 and traditionally ranks above the national average of US cities for average annual particle pollution, according to Clean Air Carolina.
Sources of particle pollution in Winston-Salem include cars, trucks, diesel buses and construction equipment, landscaping tools, agriculture, industrial facilities, power plants, biomass, and residential wood burning.
“For climate deniers, for climate believers — it’s something that you can come down and say, ‘You know what? I may not believe about the climate changing, but I know that I’m breathing that in, and what that means for me,'” said Wendell Hardin, Sustainability Manager of City of Winston-Salem.
For more information about Particle Falls, check out this video.

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