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Governor Hochul Drives Forward New York’s Transition to Clean Transportation

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Sep 30, 2022 - 07:34 AM

Governor Kathy Hochul today commemorated National Drive Electric Week by directing the State Department of Environmental Conservation to take major regulatory action that will require all new passenger cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs sold in New York State to be zero emissions by 2035. This is a crucial regulatory step to achieving significant greenhouse gas emission reductions from the transportation sector and is complemented by new and ongoing investments also announced today, including electric vehicle infrastructure progress, zero-emission vehicle incentives, and ensuring New York’s communities benefit from historic federal climate change investments.

“New York is a national climate leader and an economic powerhouse, and we’re using our strength to help spur innovation and implementation of zero-emission vehicles on a grand scale,” Governor Hochul said. “With sustained state and federal investments, our actions are incentivizing New Yorkers, local governments, and businesses to make the transition to electric vehicles. We’re driving New York’s transition to clean transportation forward, and today’s announcement will benefit our climate and the health of our communities for generations to come.”

Proposing draft State regulations is a crucial step to further electrify the transportation sector and help New York achieve its climate requirement of reducing greenhouse gases 85 percent by 2050, while also reducing air pollution, particularly in disadvantaged communities. The State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is expediting this regulatory process to implement legislation Governor Hochul signed last year and turn those goals into progress in fully transitioning to new zero-emission cars and trucks. California’s action finalizing the Advanced Clean Cars II regulation last month unlocked New York’s ability to adopt the same regulation.

The regulation will build upon existing regulations enacted in New York in 2012 by requiring all new sales of passenger cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs to be zero-emission by 2035. It would require an increasing percentage of new light-duty vehicle sales to be zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) starting with 35 percent of sales in model year 2026, 68 percent of sales by 2030, and 100 percent of sales by 2035. New pollutant standards for model year 2026 through model year 2034 passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles with internal combustion engines would also be required. The regulation provides manufacturers with flexibility in meeting the emission requirements and achieving a successful transition to cleaner vehicles.

Adoption of Advanced Clean Cars II is included among the recommendations in the Climate Action Council’s Draft Scoping Plan and will be instrumental in achieving the greenhouse gas emissions reductions required in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. In addition, reducing emissions will provide significant air quality benefits to many of New York’s disadvantaged communities, predominantly home to low-income Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and often adjacent to transit routes with heavy vehicle traffic. The regulation will help address disproportionate risks and health and pollution burdens affecting these communities.

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and Climate Action Council Co-Chair Basil Seggos said, “Governor Hochul is demonstrating her sustained commitment to the successful implementation of the Climate Act and ensuring all New Yorkers benefit from the State’s actions to address climate change. DEC will continue to work under her direction to rapidly issue this regulation and reach another milestone in the transition from fossil fuels so that more people, businesses, and governments will have the ZEV options to meet their needs and help improve the health of their communities.”

DEC will share additional information about stakeholder outreach, public comment period, and public hearing later this year and will post the regulatory proposal on DEC’s website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/propregulations.html#public.

The directed regulatory action announced today builds on New York’s ongoing efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, including the adoption of the Advanced Clean Trucks regulation in December 2021. That regulation will drive an increase in the number of medium- and heavy-duty ZEV models available as purchase options for vehicle purchasers and fleets. In addition, several transit agencies including the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, and the Metropolitan Transit Authority are leading by example with second wave deployments of electric buses. DEC, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), New York Power Authority (NYPA), and DOT (Department of Transportation) are assisting these authorities with these efforts.

Both the Advanced Clean Trucks and Advanced Clean Cars II rules would provide the needed regulatory certainty to support a stable market for long-term vehicle purchasing decisions and the development of ZEV charging infrastructure.

New York is investing more than $1 billion in zero emissions vehicles of all weight classes over the next five years. Active light-duty vehicle initiatives include zero-emission vehicle purchase rebates through NYSERDA’s Drive Clean Rebate Program, zero-emission vehicle and charging infrastructure grants through DEC’s Climate Smart Communities Municipal Grant Program, as well as the “EV Make Ready” initiative, NYPA’s EVolve NY charging infrastructure program, and DOT’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) charging infrastructure program to help expand electric vehicle use.

DEC Municipal Zero-Emission Vehicle Grants

New York State is making $5.75 million available to help municipalities purchase or lease zero-emission vehicles for fleet use and to install public electric vehicle charging and hydrogen fueling stations. DEC is accepting applications now through Sept. 30, 2022. Administered by DEC’s Climate Smart Communities Program, these zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) grants are part of New York’s commitment to supporting municipal efforts to prevent further climate change. The total funds made available for the 2022 round are the largest allocation in the program’s history. In addition, for the first time, 40 percent of the funds will be prioritized for projects in disadvantaged communities, as identified by the Climate Justice Working Group’s draft criteria. Applications for DEC’s ZEV rebates and ZEV infrastructure grants are available through the New York State Grants Gateway. Additional information about these grants is available at https://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/109181.html#ZEV.

NYSERDA Drive Clean Rebate

Additionally, $10 million has been added to the Drive Clean Rebate program, administered by NYSERDA, to help consumers purchase or lease an electric vehicle to put more clean vehicles on the road by 2035. This point-of-sale rebate takes up to $2,000 off the price of a vehicle and can be coupled with a federal tax rebate of $7,500 to provide consumers with up to $9,500 in savings. The rebate is offered at participating car dealerships with higher rebates available on longer range, all-electric vehicles. Since launching in 2017, the Drive Clean Rebate provided more than $92 million in rebates to New Yorkers in all 62 counties of the State and has helped further drive down emissions.

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO, and Climate Action Council Co-Chair Doreen M. Harris said, “The Drive Clean Rebate makes ownership of an electric vehicle a reality for many New Yorkers, reducing their out-of-pocket cost at the dealership and helping achieve their dream of driving clean. As we bring more renewable energy to our electric grid and build out EV charging infrastructure, we continue to invest in market supports that bring us closer each day to zero-emission passenger vehicles by 2035.”

NYPA EVolve NY

Last week, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) celebrated the milestone of its 100th high-speed charger installation in its EVolve NY statewide network. The charging stations are positioned in key locations along New York State’s major travel corridors, from Buffalo to Albany and from the Adirondacks to Long Island, making it significantly easier for New Yorkers to drive electric vehicles and power up and get back on the road quickly. Any battery-powered EV can charge up at an EVolve NY site in as little as 20 minutes.

The latest direct current fast chargers (DCFCs), installed in downtown Riverhead and Commack in Suffolk County, mark the network’s first hubs on Long Island. An additional EVolve NY site is coming online in Bridgehampton in October. The EVolve NY fast charging network was created to fill in gaps where fast charging is not available and spur public/private partnership to further expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure. EVolve NY has committed up to $250 million through 2025 to expand these efforts and help decarbonize the state’s transportation sector so that more New Yorkers can “Charge Faster. Go Further. Drive Cleaner.” Visit here for more information about EVolve NY and a site map noting current EVolve NY fast chargers across the State.

New York Power Authority Interim President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, “With the transportation sector responsible for the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the nation, we cannot afford to wait to implement bold actions like Governor Hochul’s directive for all new cars and trucks to be zero emissions by 2035. NYPA’s EVolve NY fast charging network is working diligently, with public and private partners, to ensure that we have an expansive charging infrastructure to support zero emission vehicles and make driving EVs the easier choice for more New Yorkers.”

Public Service Commission

The Public Service Commission commenced a highly anticipated mid-point review of the very successful EV Make-Ready Program run by the large investor-owned electric utilities. Among the topics being examined, the review will assess the program budget and incentive levels, and whether there is a need for additional phases of the program. It will also consider whether there is a need to revise the accessibility criteria to include public pay-to-park lots, along with considering whether to allow utility ownership of charging station hardware.

Public Service Commission Chair Rory M. Christian said, “Well-designed EV charging programs are essential to the utility and transportation sectors. By providing EV drivers with incentives for beneficial charging behavior, along with resources that makes charging hassle-free, the managed charging programs is a win-win for EV drivers in the form of lower fuel costs and the electric grid in the form of reduced infrastructure costs.”

Department of Transportation

Through the newly created National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program, which was part of the historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“IIJA”) of 2021, New York State will receive $175 million over five years to establish an interconnected network for reliable charging for electric vehicles traveling long-distance. New York’s plan, released by DOT in early August and approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation this week, includes information on the state’s goals, focus and approach to using the NEVI funding; and how it will support the State’s nation-leading clean energy agenda and complement the state’s pre-existing electric vehicle support programs.

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “The New York State Department of Transportation is committed to implementing New York’s nation leading Climate agenda with the goal of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A key part of this comprehensive effort is advancing our National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program Plan, which will provide a roadmap for a $175 million investment in building out reliable charging stations along key corridors in the state and facilitating the further electrification of vehicles.”

New York State’s Nation-Leading Climate Plan

New York State’s nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York’s unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting nearly 158,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state’s 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.

State Senator Peter Harckham said, “Governor Hochul’s leadership in fighting the climate crisis is bringing New York into a cleaner, greener future. I am grateful for the initiatives she announced today, as well as for signing my zero emissions vehicle bill.Thanks to her actions, our children will breathe cleaner air, and new jobs in the renewable energy sector will be created.”

Assemblywoman Amy Paulin said, “The installation of EV charging infrastructure is key to widespread EV use in New York State. Prices of EVs have come down, and the range of EVs has gone up – both of which are terrific but not enough. Increasing the number of electric chargers on main thoroughfares such as Interstates 87, 95 and 84, will give drivers the confidence and ease in using EVs that’s needed to take EV use in NYS to the next level. I applaud Governor Hochul for her leadership in NY’s EV charging buildout and for the many concrete steps she’s taken to make NYS a leader in fighting climate change.”

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, “Governor Hochul’s leadership in this area is exemplary. These actions are sensible and will allow more individuals to reduce their use of fossil fuels in their everyday transportation.”

White Plains Mayor Tom Roach said, “We are in a climate crisis and every day counts. The initiatives announced today are further evidence that while many leaders talk about climate change, Governor Hochul acts. We are proud to help advance and support New York’s efforts with electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging stations in White Plains, and we look forward to continuing to lead the nation and power a clean energy future.”

Source: New York State

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