More than $11 million will go to projects to replace older heavy-duty vehicles and equipment with clean alternatives used for local and county government and state agencies, including in Hertford, Pasquotank and Tyrrell counties.
The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Air Quality announced Wednesday the grants, the last to be awarded through the N.C. Volkswagen Settlement Program with the state’s share of the national settlement with the automaker.
These awards will fund the replacement of 45 on-road and off-road diesel vehicles, including bucket trucks, refuse haulers, dump trucks, box trucks, front loaders, semi-trucks, freight trucks and freight switchers.
Nearly 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 the historically under-resourced counties that DEQ 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 particulate matter have been linked to heart and lung conditions, particularly in children and older adults, according to the state.
Among the awards is $4.1 million for the electrification of two diesel freight switcher locomotives operated by Nucor Steel’s facility in Hertford County.
The project is a public-private partnership between Hertford County and Nucor and will provide most of the emission reductions in this program. Electrifying the locomotives eliminates 100% of their emissions, including 93 tons of nitrogen oxides over their lifetimes. Nucor Steel is also providing more than $2.5 million in matching funds toward the project.
These are the final grants DAQ will award with the $98 million that the state is investing in cleaner mobile source sector technology through the N.C. Volkswagen 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 at workplaces, apartment complexes, parks, urban centers or other locations. Rebates up to a maximum of $5,000 are available to government applicants and up to $4,000 for nongovernment applicants for each new charging port installed. Learn more on DAQ’s website.
DAQ will also accept applications for its annual Mobile Sources Emissions Reductions grants through Nov. 14. More than $1 million is available to support projects such as replacing school buses, nonroad construction and agricultural equipment, heavy-duty on-road vehicles and locomotives with new, clean equipment and vehicles.