Ask Renewable Rayna: Arkansas VW Settlement Programs

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Renewable Rayna Presents Monthly Energy Advice & Information

Do you drive and electric vehicle (EV) or plan to get one in the new future? A new program intends to increase adoption of electric vehicles by Arkansans as a result of increased charging infrastructure. For example, “range anxiety” and the lack of awareness or availability of EV charging stations (EVCS) is the number one reason why many Arkansans have yet to adopt an electric vehicle despite the low-maintenance costs and federal rebates available. As part of the Arkansas Volkswagen (VW) Settlement Program, there is a rebate program for light-duty electric vehicle charging infrastructure (EVSE Program) that will make level-2 chargers available to the public in government and non-government owned locations, workplaces, and multi-unit dwellings.

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What is the Arkansas VW Settlement?

An allocation of approximately $15 million was awarded to the state of Arkansas to reduce emissions from motor vehicles as a result of two partial decrees in a case filed against VW. In 2015,the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alleged VW of violating the Clean Air Act by the sale of approximately 500,000 vehicles with emissions control defeat devices programmed to detect when the car is undergoing official emissions testing, and to only turn on full emissions control systems – the temperature conditioning mode – during that testing.

However, outside of testing, the pollution emissions control device is greatly reduced during all normal driving situations resulting in 40% higher nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.

Per registration data provided by the ADEQ, a total of 2050 subject two-Liter and three-Liter Volkswagen turbocharged direct injection diesel vehicles are registered in Arkansas. Figure B-1 indicates the top ten counties for subject vehicle registration and indicates that the majority of subject vehicles are registered in central and northwest Arkansas. Sixteen percent of subject vehicles are registered in Pulaski County, twelve percent are registered in Benton County, and eight percent are registered in Washington County.

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Based on registration data for subject diesel vehicles, it appears that Central and Northwest Arkansas have born a disproportionate share of NOx emissions from subject vehicles.

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According the Arkansas Department of Environmental Equality (ADEQ), “these funds provide an additional opportunity for Arkansas to realize further improvement in air quality with respect to NOx, ozone, and fine particulate matter.” Other goals of the Plan include:

  • Achieving reductions in emissions of other pollutants, including diesel particulate matter and greenhouse gases;

  • Spurring private investment in alternative fueling infrastructure and vehicles;

  • Creating jobs by increasing alternative fuel production in Arkansas; and

  • Establishing alternative fuel corridors along interstates to link to corridors established in other states

Through the Level 2 Electric Vehicle Station Equipment (EVSE) Rebate Program, the ADEQ anticipates NOx reductions based on project kilowatt hours (kWh) dispensed from the types of EVSE eligible under this program.  To calculate the NOx reduction, you would take into consideration the following items:

  1. When driving a vehicle with a combustion engine with unleaded gasoline, 0.693 grams of NOx are produced per mile.

  2. 2 Miles per kWh (EV Average)

  3. kWh dispensed x miles/kWh = equivalent miles

  4. Equivalent mile x grams of NOx per mile driven = Gram of NOx saved

  5. Gram of NOx saved / 1,000,000 = metric tons of NOx saved

What is the Level 2 EVSE Rebate Program?

Under the Light-Duty Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Rebate Program, emission reductions will be dependent upon consumer choices regarding replacement of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles with zero-emitting electric vehicles. Each consumer that chooses to do so would reduce emissions of all pollutants from his or her vehicle tailpipe by one hundred percent.

To support the choice to drive electric, light duty electric vehicle supply equipment is needed and includes Level 1, Level 2 or fast charging equipment (or analogous successor technologies) that is located in a public place, workplace, schools, or multi-unit dwelling and is not consumer light duty electric vehicle supply equipment (i.e., not located at a private residential dwelling that is not a multiunit dwelling).

Through this program, government, private, and non-profit organizations, can qualify for a rebate for the installation of a level 2 electric vehicle charger, making it available to the public to #getcharged while on the go whereas the ADEQ would implement a funding assistance program for the installation of new EV charging stations.

Rebates will be provided for eligible level 2 electric vehicle supply equipment and issue a request for proposals for direct current fast-charging electric vehicle supply equipment. Such a program is authorized under the terms of the Trust and will meet the requirements for light-duty EV supply equipment under Eligible Mitigation Action Nine.

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Rebate amounts available for public Level 2 EVSE:

Up to 90% of the cost to purchase, install and maintain eligible light duty electric vehicle supply equipment that will be available to the public at a Government Owned Property.

  1. Up to 70% of the cost to purchase, install and maintain eligible light duty electric vehicle supply equipment that will be available to the public at a Non-government Owned Property.

  2. Up to 50% of the cost to purchase, install and maintain eligible light duty electric vehicle supply equipment that is available at a multi-unit dwelling but not to the general public.

  3. Up to 50% of the cost to purchase, install and maintain eligible light duty electric vehicle supply equipment that is available at a workplace but not to the general public.

Current Status of the EVSE Program

Level 2 EVSE rebate application materials under development

  • Revised Level 2 EVSE rebate certification submitted to the Trustee on April 17, 2019

  • Revised Level 2 EVSE rebate certification and project management plan approved by the Trustee on June 19, 2019

  • DC Fast Charge EVSE request for proposals under development

  • Revised DC Fast Charge certification documents under development

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Updates and More Information:

On June 19, 2019, Wilmington Trust approved ADEQ’s Level 2 Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Rebate Program certification and program management plan. ADEQ is now working on coordinating the roll-out of this program. ADEQ anticipates that the rebate period will begin in Summer 2019.

For more information about eligible charging infrastructure, visit: http://www.todayspower.com/evcs

Other programs in the Arkansas VW Settlement include:

  • ABC Pilots

    • Request for proposals under development

    • Scoring procedures under development

    • Certification documents for the program under development

  • Clean Fuels

    • Application materials under development

    • Initial certification documents submitted to the Trustee to be withdrawn

    • Future certification documents to the Trustee to be sent on a per project basis

  • SAFER

    • Application materials under development

    • Initial certification documents submitted to the Trustee to be withdrawn

    • Future certification documents to the Trustee to be sent on a per project basis

The ADEQ is not yet accepting application for the VW settlement programs.  Information about how to apply for these programs, once ADEQ begins accepting applications, will be posted to their web page here.

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Jennah Denney