Utilities Plot Ways To Prep Grid For Coming EV Boom


By Herman K. Trabish for Utility Drive. California – Electrifying the transportation sector is no easy task. But, as with many innovations occurring in the power sector, California is leading the way. The California Public Utilities Commission recently approved two rounds of pilot proposals to electrify transportation from the state’s investor-owned utilities (IOUs). These pilots will cost a combined $1.3 billion and go beyond Gov. Jerry Brown (D)’s plan to have 1.5 million zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) on the road by 2025. The pilot projects would cover the gamut of possible ways to boost electric vehicle deployment including rate designs, smart charger buildout, public education efforts, and help utilities avoid upgrade costs, said Jim Lazar, senior advisor for the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP).

France Will ‘Ban All Petrol And Diesel Vehicles By 2040′

Georgia pedestrians (Stephen Lee Davis / Transportation for America)

By Chloe Farand for Independent – France plans to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, the country’s new environment minister has announced. Nicolas Hulot made the announcement as he unveiled a series of measures as part of newly elected President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to make the country carbon neutral by 2050. Mr Hulot said he recognised the target would put pressure on France’s car manufacturers, but he said they currently had projects which “can fulfil that promise”. As part of the plan, poorer households will receive a premium so they can swap their polluting vehicles for clean alternatives. The announcement comes after Volvo said on Wednesday it planned to built only electric and hybrid vehicles from 2019. Speaking at a press conference, Mr Hulot told reporters France would stop using coal to produce electricity by 2022 and that up to €4bn of investments will help to boost energy efficiency. The announcements are part of a five-year-plan to encourage clean energy and fulfil the country’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. Mr Hulot said the government wanted to maintain the country’s “leadership” in climate policy. “We want to demonstrate that fighting against climate change can lead to an improvement of French people’s daily lives,” he said.

Electric Cars Tested As Power Grid Stabilizers


By Leslie Kaufman for Inside Climate News. California – In an important real-world test of whether electric vehicles could play a bigger role in backing up the green power grid of the future, a group of San Francisco-area drivers showed that they were willing and even eager to adjust their charging times for the right financial incentives. The small but sophisticated pilot test that took place over 18 months. During that time, BMW asked owners of its electric cars if they would be willing to delay recharging them by an hour on the company’s cue. An app notified the owners when a delay was coming, and they could opt out if they needed to charge at that time. “Eighteen months later, I can unequivocally state that participation was transparent, hassle-free and mind-numbingly dull to the point that I mostly forgot about it,” one participant, John Higham, wrote in a first person account of his experience for Inside EVs.

From Oslo To Vancouver, These Major Cities Have Plans To Go Car-Free

Oslo is one of 12 cities which plans to phase out cars in the near future. Image: REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

By Leanna Garfield for TSS – In late 2016, Madrid’s Mayor Manuela Carmena reiterated her plan to kick personal cars out of the city center. On Spanish radio network Cadena Ser, she confirmed that Madrid’s main avenue, the Gran Vía, will only allow access to bikes, buses, and taxis before she leaves office in May 2019. It’s part of a larger effort to ban all diesel cars in Madrid by 2025. But the Spanish city is not the only one getting ready to take the car-free plunge. Urban planners and policy makers around the world have started to brainstorm ways that cities can create more space for pedestrians and lower CO2 emissions from diesel. Here are 12 cities leading the car-free movement. Oslo will implement its car ban by 2019. Oslo plans to permanently ban all cars from its city center by 2019 — six years before Norway’s country-wide ban would go into effect. The Norwegian capital will invest heavily in public transportation and replace 35 miles of roads previously dominated by cars with bike lanes. “The fact that Oslo is moving forward so rapidly is encouraging, and I think it will be inspiring if they are successful,” says Paul Steely White…

Electric Cars Could Save Billions In Healthcare Costs


By Stephen Edelstein for Green Car Reports. It’s entirely obvious that internal-combustion cars pose a threat not only to the environment, but also to human health. Exhaust from gasoline and diesel cars contributes to air pollution that can lead to deleterious health effects after long exposure. Now a new study from the American Lung Association in California aims to quantify the health costs related to those exhaust emissions. It estimates that in 2015, the costs of internal-combustion cars on the health of residents in 10 selected states totaled $24 billion. Researchers analyzed health costs in the 10 “Zero-Emission Vehicle states” that have adopted California’s stricter emissions limits. Besides California, these states are Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

If China Can Fund Infrastructure With Credit, So Can We


By Ellen Brown for the Web of Debt Blog. United States – May 15-19 has been designated “National Infrastructure Week” by the US Chambers of Commerce, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and over 150 affiliates. Their message: “It’s time to rebuild.” Ever since ASCE began issuing its “National Infrastructure Report Card” in 1998, the nation has gotten a dismal grade of D or D+. In the meantime, the estimated cost of fixing its infrastructure has gone up from $1.3 trillion to $4.6 trillion. While American politicians debate endlessly over how to finance the needed fixes and which ones to implement, the Chinese have managed to fund massive infrastructure projects all across their country, including 12,000 miles of high-speed rail built just in the last decade. How have they done it, and why can’t we?

Ten Tips To Make Every Day Earth Day


By Lloyd Alter for Tree Hugger. Readers of a certain age will remember Pogo, the political satire strip that was probably the Doonesbury of the sixties. Walt Kelly did this great poster for the first Earth Day and really, nothing has changed. So many email pitches for green products, infographics and listicles (articles made of lists) come to me at TreeHugger. It is astounding, how many of them there are, and how trivial they can be. One that got me particularly cranked suggested that we could make a big difference in the state of the world by turning our TV brightness settings down and making the video game console go to sleep. A few years back, one of my sustainable design students asked what she could do to go green that did not involve buying replacement windows, electric cars or bamboo socks; Here is an Earth Day roundup of them, an update of an earlier version, listing the things that anyone can do.

VW’s Environmental Settlement Includes 400 EV Fast Charging Stations


By James Ayre for Clean Technica – As part of its court settlements with with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Volkswagen will build around 400 electric vehicle fast-charging stations in the US, according to reports. The $2 billion settlement will see the majority of stations — to be comprised of 150 kW and 320 kW DC fast-chargers, around 5 chargers to a station — installed in metro areas with high expected demand for electric vehicles. Note that these are genuinely “fast charging” rates, much faster than current non-Tesla fast chargers. The first US high-power, superfast-charging station with 150 kW of power is currently being constructed for the EVgo charging network (visualizations of that station from EVgo below).

Trump Wants To Privatize Air Traffic Control


By David Shepardson for Reuters. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump is proposing to shift oversight of the U.S. air traffic control from the federal government to an independent group, according to budget documents released on Thursday. Trump, who called the U.S. air traffic control system “obsolete” in a meeting with airline executives last month, is proposing $16.2 billion for the Department of Transportation’s discretionary budget for fiscal year 2018, a reduction of 13 percent. Some Transportation Department budget items are paid through the highway gas tax fund. Privatization advocates argue that spinning off air traffic control into a non-government entity would allow for a more efficient system and rapid, cost-effective improvements of technology, in part by avoiding the government procurement process. Opponents, including some airlines, say the U.S. system is so large that privatization would not save money, and would drive up ticket costs and could create a national security risk.

Barcelona Is Kicking Cars Off Many Of Its Streets.


Ben Adler for Grist – The city’s plan will create “superblocks” that cars, buses, and trucks must go around, with exceptions for local residents and deliveries at off-peak times. Despite the ominous name, these pedestrian paradises won’t be like their infamous American counterparts — the towering mega-projects that destroyed the urban fabric in the name of Urban Renewal. And with all that valuable space now available, Barcelonians are beginning to find better uses for their streets…

Why Is US Unwilling To Pay For Good Public Transit?


By John Rennie Short for The Conversation. Officials in Washington, D.C. said this week they may have to shut down portions of the Metro subway system for months because its piecemeal approach to maintenance is no longer sufficient. The disclosure follows a shutdown of the entire Metro system on March 16 for 24 hours. Three-quarters of a million people use the system each weekday, so the inconvenience and cost were considerable. The reason: frayed electrical cables discovered in at least 26 locations that posed an immediate danger. Closing the Metro was probably the safest thing to do. Just two days previously, an electrical fire in a tunnel forced stoppages to busy commuter service.

Unjust Punishment: Will 13 Climate Activists Face Jail Time?


By Steve Rushton for Occupy.com. London – “Aviation is the fastest growing source of emissions in the UK. It cannot be de-carbonized,” Mel Strickland, a climate activist with the Plane Stupid network, told Occupy.com. “Heathrow is the world’s largest airport and the second biggest U.K. source of carbon emissions. We need to stop the government’s plans to build a third runway to stop climate change.” Strickland and 12 other climate activists, known as the #Heathrow13, cut through the security fence at London’s Heathrow Airport on July 13, 2015, and occupied one of the airport’s runways for six hours. This week, they will find out if they face jail time for their action. At last summer’s protest, the group held a banner that read: “No ifs, no buts, no third runway,” quoting an election pledge made by David Cameron in 2009, before he became Prime Minister.

Protests Against Transportation Hikes Continue Across Brazil

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By Staff of Tele Sur – Recife has joined the larger cities Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in protesting increases in public transportation fares, while demanding improved services. Protests in Brazil over the cost of public transit spread to the coastal city of Recife Friday as demonstrators took to the streets to say no to fare hikes, local media reported. Hundreds of protesters gathered in the center of Brazil’s fifth largest city to demand free transit passes instead of fare hikes from 3.50 reais (US$0.87) to 3.80 reais (US$0.95), which demonstrators have said is an unjustified increase given the state of public transit services.

Traffic Enforcement Is Not About Safety


By Lorelei Mcfly for Cop Block – In his article, “How Waze Makes Roads Safer than the Police” Jeffrey Tucker explains how the Waze mobile app helps create a safer driving experience for everyone by alerting drivers to pot holes, accidents, and traffic jams, and also fostering a sense of community amongst motorists: Waze has subtly changed my outlook on driving. Other drivers become your benefactors because it is they who are reporting on traffic accidents, cars on the side the road, blocked streets, and the presence of police. They are all doing you favors. If you report, others thank you for doing so. You even see icons of evidence that your friends are driving, too.

Crackdowns Show Transit Workers On Right Track

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By Samantha Winslow for Labor Notes – Even basic rights like free speech can’t be taken for granted, transit workers are finding out, when your speech makes the boss look bad. Around the country, members of the Amalgamated Transit Union have been threatened with discipline and arrest simply for bringing their message to the public at bus stops, in breakrooms, at public meetings, and on social media. As workers resist budget-crunching, ATU International President Larry Hanley said, “the companies are fighting back using the power of the police and the power of discharge.”