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Charging Forward – November + December 2023

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

Happy December! As we approach the end of 2023, we're reflecting on the progress and setbacks this year and looking forward to exciting possibilities of the new year, like new funding opportunities for the Carolinas and Georgia, outlined in the Powering the EV Movement section.

At the same time, we're reflecting on work that has yet to be done. For the past two weeks, the United Nations-led summit known as COP28 has been the site of standoff and debate between world leaders tasked with accelerating the global fight against climate change by phasing out the use of fossil fuels. While we've been weary about the summit – led by the head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Sultan al-Jaber, in Dubai – our hopes are bolstered by BloombergNEF's Zero-Emission Vehicles Factbook: COP28 Edition, which shows there being no sign of slowdown in EV adoption across the world. Decarbonizing transport is key to ending dependence on oil, and we're reminded to keep urging both governments and automakers to promote an equitable EV transition so we all can reap its benefits, from clean air to new jobs.

We remain hopeful that negotiations at COP28 on building resilience to climate impacts can bring support to vulnerable communities coping with climate catastrophe. In the meantime, work is already being done to amplify the voices of those experiencing environmental injustices in the Southeast through initiatives like this one in Savannah. This month, we're also highlighting a blog on a recent conference helping to advance environmental equity, the Just Future Summit in Oakland, California.

Back in the Southeast, Georgia hit 75,000 electric vehicle registrations in November as more and more of the Peach state’s drivers utilize EV-related tax credits included in last year’s federal Inflation Reduction Act. Take a look at other EV indicators about Georgia from our “Transportation Electrification in the Southeast” Fourth Annual Report, released with SACE and Atlas Public Policy in September:

All measures include medium- and heavy-duty EVs, except for sales which refers exclusively to new passenger EVs. EV sales includes both battery EVs (BEV) and Plug-in Hybrid EVs (PHEV). Manufacturing Employment and Investment refers to EV assembly, EV parts, EV charging infrastructure, battery manufacturing, and battery recycling facilities. Utility Investment refers to investor-owned utilities only. Totals are cumulative unless stated. Public funding is mostly from federal government or the VW Settlement. The jobs and investment data reflect the total announced jobs investments through June 2023. Data is through June 2023 and growth is taken from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023. Source: "Transportation Electrification in the Southeast" 2023 Report.

This electrifying progress isn't just happening in Georgia – it's accelerating across the whole country. A record-breaking one million EVs have already been sold in the US in 2023 – the first time this has happened within a calendar year. It's powerful to see the ripple effect we can create when we raise our voices, especially when it comes to encouraging clean energy behaviors like in Gen180's new report on peer influence and EV adoption.

As so much of this growth happens right here in the Southeast, we remain grateful for our readers who stay connected to us and others on Facebook and Instagram. To receive these newsletters in your inbox, click here to sign up!

Charging Forward,

Dory Larsen


Powering the EV Movement

In 2023, Electric Vehicles Were Everywhere

It took a decade to sell America’s first 1 million electric vehicles (EVs), two years to sell the next million, and then, in 2023, only 11 months to sell the next. EV sales are soaring, making up 19% of global auto sales in 2023. Despite policy setbacks and misinformation campaigns, EV adoption in the Southeast continues to grow, largely thanks to federal investments and incentives from the landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. Read more.

Conference Snapshots: Takeaways from the Just Future Summit 2023

SACE's Electric Transportation Equity Manager Madelyn Collins shared some inspiring and memorable highlights from the 2023 Just Future Summit, hosted by The Greenlining Institute, that sparked her actualization of a just future built on the concept and culture of greenlining. Read more.


Get Plugged-In

North Carolina Accepting Applications for Annual Diesel Emission Reduction Grants Virtual event: Webinar Jan. 10 | Application closes Feb. 2

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) is accepting grant applications to fund projects that will reduce emissions from diesel engines. The grant Request for Proposals guidance, along with information on how to apply, are on the Division’s website. An informational webinar to assist applicants will be held on Jan. 10 and will review the application process and how to use the DAQ Grants Management System. Registration for the webinar is required by signing up online.


New Funding Opportunity For Local Units Of Government in South Carolina

Application closes Jan. 8

South Carolina's Energy Office has received formula funding through the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program to award subgrants to projects and programs that improve energy efficiency, cut carbon emissions, and reduce energy use. Applications are now being accepted through January 8, 2024.

Units of local governments in South Carolina may apply for Energy Office subgrants, if they were not eligible to receive EECBG funding directly from DOE as listed in the EECBG Local Government Allocations. The Energy Office plans to award between 20 and 30 EECBG subgrants ranging from $50,000 to $75,000 each.


New Funding Opportunity For Local Units Of Government in Georgia

Program details and application process to be announced soon

Alongside 19 other states and in support of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded Georgia $2,989,230 to advance crucial clean energy and infrastructure upgrades. Georgia plans to create a competitive sub-granting program for local governments ineligible for direct EECBG Program funding.

Program participants will select an EECBG Program Blueprint of their choice to pursue energy planning, energy audits, energy savings performance contracts, municipal fleet electrification, or community solar adoption. Local governments will be selected using a formula that prioritizes Justice40 and other disadvantaged communities. Learn more and receive updates about the application here. 


Georgia and South Carolina Seeking input to Climate Pollution Reduction Grant

Surveys close Dec. 22 and Dec. 31

The Climate Pollution Reduction Grants (CPRG) program provides $5 billion in grants to states, local governments, tribes, and territories to develop and implement greenhouse gas emissions plans. Authorized under the Inflation Reduction Act, this two-phase program provides $250 million for noncompetitive planning grants, and approximately $4.6 billion for competitive implementation grants. Georgia and South Carolina are actively seeking input into their respective initial Priority Climate Action Plan (PCAP) from organizations that lead, particpate or support emissions reductions programs or strategies. In Georgia, the GA Environmental Protection Division is leading the planning. The link for the Georgia plan is here and the deadline to complete it is Dec. 31, 2023.

In South Carolina, the SC Office of Resilience (SCOR) and the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) are leading the planning. For more information, or to share your emissions reduction plans or ideas, please visit the PAQC website and take the survey! The deadline is December 22, 2023.


Paving the Way

ICYMI: Gen180's new report, "Your Influence Matters: Peer Influence and EV Adoption"

This new report from Gen180, Your Influence Matters: Peer Influence and EV Adoption, shows that neighbors, friends, and loved ones play a key role in encouraging us to drive electric. The report found that car buyers are more likely to consider an electric vehicle if their neighbors have one, showing that another person’s influence really matters when it comes to encouraging clean energy behaviors like driving electric to cut climate-harming emissions. Read more.


Driving an EV is Just as Safe as a Driving any Other Vehicle

The truth is: EVs have proven themselves to be as safe, if not safer, than their gas-powered counterparts. The Zero Emission Transport Association (ZETA) is excited to unveil a new initiative that aims to reshape the narrative around EV safety. ZETA's new landing page serves as a comprehensive guide designed to educate individuals of all backgrounds on the myths and misperceptions surrounding EV safety, plus is a resource to learn more about the latest EV safety features. Read more.


BloombergNEF's Zero-Emission Vehicles Factbook: COP28 Edition

With the climate and energy world gathering in Dubai last week for COP28, BloombergNEF has published its annual zero emission vehicle factbook, which shows that despite geopolitical challenges and rising interest rates, the transition to zero-emission vehicles has continued to accelerate over the last two years. The annual factbook first launched at COP26 in Glasgow to provide a comprehensive picture on EVs globally. Read more.


EV charging stations installed at Coachman Park as part of Clearwater’s Greenprint 2.0 sustainability initiative

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy collaborated with the City of Clearwater, Florida to promote six new electric vehicle charging stations installed at Coachman Park as part of the city’s Greenprint 2.0 sustainability plan. Read more.


Transportation Secretary Says No to Federal Emissions Program

The Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue said no to $320 million in federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law money that would reduce carbon pollution. We're not talking about monopoly money the Biden administration minted; we are talking about taxpayer dollars that Floridians contribute but won't benefit from. The FDOT Secretary, under the Governor's direction, is refusing funding that Floridians have paid into. That's the epitome of a bad deal. Thanks to Secretary Purdue's refusal, Floridians will send their money to other states to enhance infrastructure like parks, ports, sidewalks, and roads. At the same time, Florida continues to be ravaged by hurricanes and floods, made worse by the carbon pollution FDOT has chosen to ignore. How does that make sense?  Read more.


The Electric School Bus Moment Arrived in States Nationwide in 2023

Take a look at state level actions and policies that increased electric school bus adoption in 2023. While none of these were taking place in southern states, it highlights what is being done around the country to equitably deliver clean rides for our nation's school children. And here's a fun fact: the number of U.S. electric school buses more than doubled from March 2022 to June 2023! Read more.


Kicking Gas

Every month we'll spotlight stories and photos from YOU, our readers, about how EVs play a role in your world. To be featured in an upcoming ETS newsletter, send us an email here! We'll also highlight our partners and allies from our testimonials page and feature photos from events SACE has participated in across the region.

Pearl Eva Walker, SACE Civic Engagement Consultant | Memphis, Tennessee

In March of this year, Pearl Eva Walker, SACE's Civic Engagement Consultant, attended the unveiling of a solar array that will power two county government buildings near Shelby Farms Park in Memphis, Tennessee. The solar array is capable of generating 216 kilowatts of energy — enough to power the county’s Construction Code Enforcement building and its East Data Center. A rebate through the Inflation Reduction Act cut 30% off the project’s $589,000 cost.

Walker won a seat on the Memphis city council in November with SACE's endorsement, becoming one of a record seven women on the council. She works hard to shed light on the problems that energy poses to Memphians and propose solutions that will benefit the Memphis community through transitioning to clean energy. Of the ribbon cutting, Walker said, “We are called upon in this moment to be a part of a generational change for clean energy. Projects like this are an example of how we can pull together to get more clean energy generation and help us build a future we want.”

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