Cassandra Melching

Cassandra Melching

Despite major reductions in emissions and the accompanying improvements in air quality, the valley continues to face difficult challenges in meeting federal air quality standards. Attaining the new standards for ozone and particulates will be virtually impossible for the valley without significant advancements in low-emission technologies for mobile and stationary sources.

The Valley Air District understands that many of these emission-reduction technologies are still in their infancy and financial investment in advanced energy technologies and innovation is critical to the valley’s future improvements in air quality. That is why the district’s Technology Advancement Program provides funding for businesses and individuals to develop and implement new emission-reduction technologies throughout the valley. TAP consists of an ongoing review of new technology concepts, interagency partnerships, funding for technology advancement programs and collaborations to build and expand local capacity for research and development in the valley.

The district is also supporting new technologies by helping to electrify the valley. To support the growing number of clean plug-in electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the valley, the district launched its Charge Up! Program, which helps fund the purchase and installation of publicly accessible electric vehicle chargers.

The program offers valley businesses and public agencies up to $6,000 for a level 2 charger and up to $25,000 for a level 3/DC fast charger. The goal of this program is to further strengthen the valley’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure to ensure the technology’s sustainability in the region and ease the “range anxiety” that concerns many existing and potential electric vehicle owners.

The district has also partnered with the Center for Sustainable Energy and launched Valley Takes Charge! This program promotes plug-in electric vehicles in the valley and empowers local governments and their constituents to increase the number of clean cars on valley roads while decreasing transportation emissions. This program calls for innovative strategies to make plug-in electric vehicles and vehicle charging affordable and accessible for the majority of valley residents, many of whom live in environmental justice and disadvantaged communities. For more information about this program, please visit www.energycenter.org/valleytakescharge.

By coordinating technology advancement efforts with other federal, state and local agencies, the district is able to support projects that further air-quality technology research and development capacity among the valley’s colleges and universities. This, in turn, improves the ability of local institutions to deploy future clean technology projects specifically suited to the valley’s needs.

It is really exciting to be able to identify these new technologies that support the district’s goal of reducing air pollution. For more information on these grants and other programs, please visit www.valleyair.org/grants.

— Cassandra Melching is an outreach and communications representative with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

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