DEEP Announces Opportunities to Reduce Air Pollution Through Clean Vehicles and Energy Storage Technology
State Seeking Information on Storage to Replace Fossil Fuels, and Making Nearly $1 Million in Federal Grant Funds Available for Clean Vehicle Projects
(HARTFORD) — The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has announced two new opportunities to reduce air pollution, each with a focus on supporting the reliable and cost-effective implementation of the state’s clean transportation goals. DEEP is making funding available through a grant program to replace older diesel engines and is issuing a request for information (RFI) as part of the state’s efforts to deploy 1,000 megawatts (MW) of energy storage by 2030.
The energy storage RFI, which is the first step to a Request for Proposals (RFP), seeks to support the investment in new electric fleet charging infrastructure that displaces diesel vehicle operation, particularly in environmental justice communities. DEEP will work in consultation with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) Procurement Manager, the Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC), and the state’s electric distribution companies. The request will inform a future RFP from private developers for multiple use cases of energy storage to secure cost-effective projects that will displace emissions, maintain or support reliability, and improve public health outcomes.
DEEP has also announced the availability of up to $968,805 in federal funds for grants to local and state governments, as well as businesses and organizations, to replace large, older diesel engines and equipment with electric vehicle equivalents or newer, cleaner-burning engines. The funding, which is provided under the federal Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA), covers up to 60% of the cost of new technology to replace older diesel engines. The use of new technologies can reduce air pollution as much as 80% in addition to saving money in operating costs through reduced fuel consumption.
“Diesel-related air pollution continues to harm public health in Connecticut, especially in the low to moderate income communities across the state that have borne a historic and disproportionate impact from air pollution,” said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes. “Along with our proposed clean car and truck standards for new vehicles, cost-effective energy storage technology and DERA are important tools to cost-effectively and reliably reduce air pollution, support healthier communities, and encourage further electrification of the heavy-duty vehicle sector.”
DEEP is administering the DERA grants for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s State Clean Diesel Program. DERA funding presents an excellent opportunity to leverage federal funds to replace older diesel vehicles and equipment with newer, cleaner equipment, including electric alternatives to diesel, which will benefit the recipient organization while also helping to improve air quality and protect public health in Connecticut.
Since 2008, $7.2 million in DERA funding has been allocated to Connecticut for projects reducing over 4,700 tons of diesel emissions. DEEP announced the most recent round of vehicle and equipment awards to Connecticut recipients earlier this year.
How to Apply for DERA Funding
DEEP is seeking proposals from municipalities, state agencies, businesses, and organizations for environmental projects that cost-effectively reduce diesel emissions with a focus on electric vehicle replacements and marine projects. All program limitations and requirements, forms and instructions are available on DEEP’s Diesel Grants and Funding webpage.
Grant applications for DERA were accepted beginning November 9, 2023, and are due by December 15, 2023.
More information on Diesel Fleet Electrification RFI
Governor Ned Lamont signed Public Act (PA) 21-53, the unanimously bipartisan-supported energy storage legislation into law in June, 2021, which established a statewide goal of deploying 1,000 MW of energy storage by year-end 2030, making Connecticut the eighth U.S. state to issue an energy storage deployment target.
Initial responses for the Diesel Fleet Electrification RFI are due no later than January 5, 2024, and more information can be found at Energy Filings (state.ct.us).
Why Diesel Air Pollution is a Problem
Air pollution from diesel engines presents real public health concerns for Connecticut. Our communities, especially those in urban areas near transportation hubs and highways, suffer from exposure to sooty exhaust emitted by trucks, buses, and other diesel engines. These emissions can make breathing difficult, particularly for children, the elderly, and other sensitive groups. Reducing diesel emissions continues to be a top priority for DEEP because:
A recent national report, Asthma Capitals 2023, ranked Hartford (#60), Bridgeport (#84), and New Haven (#92) among the 100 largest U.S. cities where it is most challenging to live with asthma;
- Diesel exhaust has been classified as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA);
- Diesel engines are a significant contributor to air pollution, emitting high levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which exacerbates asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and similar respiratory conditions; and
- Emissions from diesel-powered electricity generators used to meet peak energy demand usually occur on high ozone days, amplifying the negative health impacts of ozone.