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Patrick-Murray Administration Celebrates Earth Day 2013 with Launch of Electric Vehicle Incentive Program for Municipalities



By Targeted News Service

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection issued the following news release:

To mark Earth Day 2013, the Patrick-Murray Administration today launched the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (MassEVIP), which will provide funding to municipalities across the Commonwealth to help purchase electric or plug-in hybrid passenger vehicles. The program will also provide funding to communities for the installation of dual electric charging stations.

The $2.5 million incentive program, announced today at events in Greenfield and Chelmsford, will encourage increased deployment of advanced technology vehicles in cities and towns, improve air quality, reduce reliance on foreign oil, and help Massachusetts attain the aggressive emission reduction goals set under the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA).

The Clean Energy and Climate Plan goal, created under the GWSA, is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.

“The transportation sector accounts for roughly one-third of the greenhouse gases emitted, so the deployment of more electric and plug-in vehicles is one important step toward helping Massachusetts achieve its ambitious goals,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan.

In March, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Conservation Law Foundation hosted an Electric Vehicle (EV) Roundtable meeting, attended by more than 90 stakeholders. The Roundtable focused on ways to increase local awareness of EVs and strategies about how to incentivize their deployment across Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Initiative (MEVI) was created to ensure on-going, active participation of stakeholders and Roundtable participants and greatly accelerate the number of clean vehicles registered in the Commonwealth and make them easier to use.

“The innovative ideas produced at the Roundtable spurred us to establish the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Initiative, which will coordinate the advanced technology efforts of our environmental agencies and the state’s transportation department with stakeholder involvement,” added Secretary Sullivan.

The program announced today will be operated by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), which will offer grants up to $7,500 per electric vehicle and up to $15,000 per publicly accessible electrical charging station to eligible communities. It is the first of what the state plans will be other state incentive programs to increase electric vehicle deployment and ease their use.

“This incentive program is intended to encourage and increase the deployment of zero-emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles that will provide significant air pollution emission reductions,” said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. “Over the lifetime of an electric vehicle, the owner can reduce fuel consumption by more than 6,000 gallons of gasoline, reduce fuel costs by thousands of dollars, and cut our reliance on foreign oil.”

MassDEP estimates that this program will help add between 300 and 400 new all electric or plug-in hybrids to the approximate 900 in use in Massachusetts today.

The incentive program supports the efforts of the Department of Energy Resources’ (DOER) Green Communities Program, through which designated Green Communities strive to make their cities and towns more energy efficient and commit to purchasing only fuel efficient vehicles. MassEVIP will provide incentives for higher efficiency in many municipal fleets.

DOER and the Massachusetts Clean Cities Coalition have worked to make the Commonwealth “EV ready” by funding the installation of nearly 140 public charging points for electric vehicles at work sites, retail stores, and commuter parking garages.

“Electric vehicles and other alternative transportation vehicles are exciting contributors to what we all need – cleaner air and less dependence on fossil fuels,” said DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia. “We are proud to work together with so many stakeholders on the Commonwealth’s important environmental, health, and economic goals.”

Even when EVs are charged with electricity generated by fossil fuels, a smaller amount of greenhouse gases is emitted than conventional gasoline-fueled vehicles. With electricity generated almost entirely by domestic sources in Massachusetts, electricity costs are lower than petroleum and not as subject to price volatility, so EV owners benefit from a reliable and cheaper source of energy to power their vehicles.

DOER, with MassDEP and the Clean Cities Coalition, will host a webinar on May 1 to brief municipalities about the program. Also on May 1, MassDEP will post additional information about MassEVIP and the application package for eligible municipalities. From May 6-31, MassDEP will hold workshops in the Boston office and in four regions around the state to outline details and requirements about the program. Applications are due from municipalities by June 30.

“Electric Vehicles represent the future of our world’s transportation. I am pleased that this program will help provide incentives to spur growth in this burgeoning industry,” said Senator Marc Pacheco, Senate Chairman of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.

“The Electric Vehicle Incentive Program is another good example of Massachusetts leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, while improving our profile as an environmental technology leader,” said Senator Stanley Rosenberg.

“It is a great honor for Secretary Sullivan and the Patrick-Murray Administration to choose Greenfield as the site of this Earth Day rollout of the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program,” said Rep. Paul Mark. “Our Commonwealth has shown a commitment to green energy and reducing greenhouse gasses, and this is a fitting recognition that no community has been more active in this mission than Greenfield.”

“It cannot be denied that the City of Greenfield is a strong and supportive partner with Governor Patrick, Secretary Sullivan and Commissioners Sylvia and Kimmell,” said Greenfield Mayor William F. Martin. “As a city, we have followed their lead from solar farms to the ‘stretch’ code, and now, we stand again with them to introduce electric vehicle charging stations as another contribution to the effort to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, to improve our air quality and to accommodate other strategies to team with that effort.”

Chelmsford’s town manager, Paul Cohen, added, “The Town of Chelmsford is pleased to continue its electric vehicle partnership with Governor Deval Patrick, Secretary Sullivan, and Commissioners Kimmell and Sylvia. Chelmsford hosts an electric vehicle charging station at the Adams Library in the town center and one in Vinal Square in North Chelmsford. Chelmsford has implemented an efficient vehicle policy, has entered into a solar net metering contract, and is seeking town meeting approval for an energy management performance contract that would result in all of its municipal electricity power supply deriving from solar photovoltaic energy. We look forward to the launch of the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program.”

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