May 20, 2022

Leveraging unprecedented federal investments for electric mobility with inclusive utility investments

By: Margarita Parra

The Biden Administration, through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act enacted in late 2021, is providing unprecedented resources for the transition to electric mobility. On May 20, at an event at Meridian High School in Falls Church, VA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officially launched the Clean School Bus Program (CSBP) with $5B, of which at least $2.5B are for electric school buses. Additionally, the U.S. Departments of Energy and of Transportation, through a joint office, are deploying the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program with $7.5B for public charging infrastructure. Both CSBP and NEVI will provide funding over the next five years to eligible recipients across the United States. These funding resources are a significant downpayment for the transition to electric vehicle technologies, but we know it will not be enough for the scale of the challenge. More investments will be needed. 

Along with many community partners and champions for equity, such as the Alliance for Electric School Buses led by Chispa, Clean Energy Works believes that federal resources should be allocated to those who are affected the most by pollution from fossil fuel powered vehicles. Low-income communities of color are more exposed to this pollution, and therefore, should receive more of the funding. This round of funding from the CSBP will prioritize schools to those with low income student population, rural and tribal schools in support of the Justice 40 Initiative.

This is a great start, however, in addition to the underinvestment of federal funding in low-income communities, there are other barriers to accessing clean energy, and we need systemic solutions that leverage existing funding and build long term opportunities for decarbonizing homes and transportation for everyone. 

Since our founding in 2014, Clean Energy Works has championed inclusive utility investments because utilities can provide and recover the capital needed to overcome the upfront cost barriers to clean energy for everyone. Utilities in several states are already providing site-specific energy solutions to consumers through tariffed on bill programs for energy efficiency. These inclusive utility investments based on the Pay As You Save® system offer consumer protections that help assure the service charge is lower than the savings from switching to cleaner technologies. This deployment strategy has been used for residential insulation as well as new heat pumps, and it can be used for electric vehicles and their charging equipment. To learn more, explore our full Q&A on Inclusive Utility Investments for Transport. And if you want to be part of the team implementing this solution, please check our job opening for a Transportation Specialist.

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