More than $11 million will go towards projects to replace older vehicles and heavy equipment with clean alternatives used by local and county governments and state agencies, including in Hertford, Pasquotank and Tyrrell counties.
The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Quality Division announced the grants on Wednesday, the latest to be awarded under the Volkswagen NC settlement program with the state’s share in the national settlement with the car manufacturer.
These awards will fund the replacement of 45 on-road and off-road diesel vehicles, including bucket trucks, waste haulers, dump trucks, box trucks, front loaders, semi-trailers, cargo trucks and freight switches.
Almost half of the money is to be used to provide electric vehicle replacements. Of the total, 67% was awarded to vehicle replacement projects in rural counties and 74% will go to projects in historically underfunded counties that DEQ has targeted for additional outreach and support during the application process. .
By replacing these old diesel vehicles with clean alternatives, the grants will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides, or NOx, by more than 113 tons, particulate matter by 5,928 pounds and greenhouse gases by more than 6,970. tons. Nitrogen oxides and particulates have been linked to heart and lung disease, especially in children and the elderly, according to the state.
Among the awards are $4.1 million for the electrification of two freight switching diesel locomotives operated by Nucor Steel’s Hertford County facility.
The project is a public-private partnership between Hertford County and Nucor and will provide most of the emissions reductions in this program. The electrification of locomotives eliminates 100% of their emissions, including 93 tonnes of nitrogen oxides over their lifetime. Nucor Steel is also providing more than $2.5 million in matching funds for the project.
These are the last grants DAQ will make with the $98 million the state is investing in cleaner mobile source technology through the Volkswagen NC Settlement Program.
The state’s Volkswagen settlement program still has more than $869,000 in rebates to help fund new Level 2 electric vehicle chargers that can be installed in workplaces, apartment complexes, parks , urban centers or other places. Rebates of up to a maximum of $5,000 are available to government applicants and up to $4,000 to non-government applicants for each new charging port installed. Learn more on the DAQ website.
DAQ will also be accepting applications for annual Mobile Source Emission Reduction Grants through November 14. More than $1 million is available to support projects such as replacing school buses, off-road construction and farm equipment, heavy-duty road vehicles and locomotives with new ones, cleaning up equipment and vehicles .