In Delaware, transportation is responsible for a third of the state’s carbon emissions.
Addressing this chunk of the First State’s carbon footprint is critical to Gov. Markell’s goal to reduce 30 percent of the state’s emissions from 2005 over the next 15 years. In July, he launched the Clean Transportation Incentive Program, offering financial incentives to nudge consumers to consider greener vehicles, like the electric Nissan Leaf.
But cost of the vehicle isn’t the only factor that drivers worry about. In the last year, electric vehicle charging stations have popped up in more places in Delaware, like the Lewes Ferry Terminal or the Tanger Outlets in Rehoboth Beach. The expansion of the state’s EV charging network has made it easier for owners of Nissan Leafs and Chevy Volts to broaden their driving range. However, Delaware still has a ways to go in making fuel stations more convenient for these vehicles.
DNREC is now offering a total of $1.4 million in grants to help expand the network of alternative fueling stations.
“It’s to combat this ‘chicken and egg problem,'" said Kathy Harris, a climate planner at the Delaware Division of Energy and Climate. "So by putting infrastructure out there people who are interested in purchasing these vehicles will no longer have an issue and worry about whether or not they have a place to recharge vehicle, refill their CNG--natural gas--car et cetera.”
Harris adds that the project aims not only to accommodate electric cars, but also for propane, hydrogen and natural gas-fueled vehicles.
“We would just like to promote any alternative fuel," said Harris. "Our goal is to decrease the amount of carbon dioxide and pollutants entering the atmosphere and our mindset is that it doesn’t matter what alternative fuel out there, as long as it’s cleaning up our roads and cleaning up our air.”
Each project can be funded up to $500,000. Harris says that DNREC expects to fund three to five projects. DNREC will take applications from businesses, institutions and non-profits until Feb. 29.