Articles Posted in Clean Technology

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The Prop 65 “Clear and Reasonable Warnings” updates that became effective in August 2018 contain lots of traps for the unwary, including one that you might not have noticed:  tailored Prop 65 warnings are required at each of the public entrances to your enclosed parking facilities.

To avail your regulated business to the “safe harbor” content and method provisions of the “enclosed parking” provisions of Prop 65,  you must comply with specific signage requirements such as the size, placement, font and warning symbol, as well as include the following warning language: “Breathing the air in this parking garage can expose you to chemicals including carbon monoxide and gasoline or diesel engine exhaust, which are known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.  Do not stay in this area longer than necessary.  For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/parking.”

bear-300x201Businesses have pointed out that Prop 65 signage at enclosed parking facilities does absolutely nothing to change human behavior.  People still need to go to work, and if they live in many parts of California, they still need to drive to work and park.  Despite this, prudent business owners should still comply with the warning requirements as penalties for failure to comply with Prop 65 can be steep – up to $2,500 per day for each violation.  Businesses that do not comply with Prop 65’s warning requirements are often targeted by plaintiffs’ attorneys and consumer groups and may be held responsible for plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees.

solarpanels1-300x200In late February, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) (in collaboration with State Controller John Chiang) introduced California Senate Bill 1465.  The legislation would seek to provide credit support for small renewable energy and agricultural businesses in the form of loan guarantees.  By doing so, the bill hopes to “facilitate export expansion” and promote job retention and growth in these sectors.

I think we are all well aware of the recession that has gripped the country as a whole and many states – California included.  One of the many negative impacts of the economic climate has been the inability of small businesses to secure much-needed financing.  This is particularly true for emerging small businesses like those in the renewable energy sector.  That is where SB 1465 hopes to come in. 

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Freeway-300x283At the start of the year, California began offering green clean air vehicle decals to purchasers or lessees of cars meeting California’s Enhanced Advanced Partial Zero Emission Vehicle requirements.  These decals enable a single driver to drive in the carpool lane.

California is limiting the number of stickers to 40,000.  The program will last through January 2015.  Ironically, as reported by the Sacramento Bee, there are currently no commercially available cars that meet the criteria to obtain the decal.  However, the 2012 Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid and the 2012 Chevy Volt are expected to qualify.

SemiTruckOn Tuesday, the Obama administration, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) announced new standards aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increasing fuel efficiency for buses, big rig trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles. This comes on the heels of last week’s similar announcement for cars and light-duty trucks.

The program covers vehicles built for the 2014 through 2018 model years and divides the vehicles into three categories: (1) combination tractors (“semis” or “big rigs”), (2) heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, and (3) vocational vehicles (such as buses and garbage trucks). By the 2018 model year, big rigs will be required to achieve a fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emission reduction of approximately 20%. An approximate 15% reduction will be required of 2018 model year heavy-duty pickups and vans. And, by model year 2018, buses, garbage trucks and the like will be required to achieve about a 10% reduction. These standards will result in savings of 4 to 1 gallons of fuel per 100 miles traveled, depending on the vehicle type.

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Volt-LeafPresident Obama announced today an agreement with thirteen major automakers to commence the next phase of the Administration’s program to increase fuel efficiency standards to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. EPA and the Department of Transportation worked with auto manufacturers, the state of California, environmental groups, and other interested parties for several months to ensure that the standards are achievable, cost-effective and preserve consumer choice.

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Volt-LeafAs my colleague posted last month, California’s popular Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) was in jeopardy of running out of funds by this month. The program, funded by California’s Air Resources Board (ARB), provides vouchers or rebates on a first-come, first-served basis toward the purchase of zero-emission or plug-in hybrid cars, and zero-emission or hybrid trucks and buses. This week, ARB approved up to $40 million for the third year of funding for the Air Quality Improvement Program (AQIP), which funds CVRP.

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Electric CarIn what the Air Resources Board (ARB) is calling “a wonderful problem to have,” the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) is projected to run out of funds by next month. I don’t think this comes has a huge shock to those of us that are Angelinos. After all, we are pretty accustomed to seeing electric vehicle charging stations all over town… someone must be using them! Among those using them are the approximately 1,700 people that have, thus far, received a rebate for purchasing a zero emission vehicle.
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Windpower1In February, we reported that Sen. Joe Simitian’s (D-Palo Alto) bill, known as SBX1 2, passed the California State Senate. As expected, it was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown last month after having also passed the State Assembly on March 29th with a vote of 55-19. The law requires that 33% of the power that California utilities provide to their customers come from solar, wind and other qualified renewable sources by the year 2020. The bill was signed at a ceremony at a solar manufacturing plant in Milpitas on April 12th.

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Solar PanelsSo, maybe you’re thinking of having a photovoltaic (that’s solar for all you non-science types out there) energy system installed on the roof of your house. You consider yourself a pretty “green” person and you would like to take it to the next level. You start to look into how much this self-pat on the back will cost and you quickly discover that there are significant up front capital requirements. Read: it’s pretty expensive! Not only that, but your calculations lead you to the realization that the savings on electricity will take many years to catch up to this initial investment. “But, I probably won’t even own this house by that time!!” you say to yourself…
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On Thursday, the California State Senate passed SBX1 2, introduced by Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) and a few others. This bill would require 33% of the power that California utilities provide to their customers come from solar, wind and other qualified renewable sources by the year 2020. Currently, California law (which was also initially introduced by Simitian) puts this requirement at 20%. Supporters of the bill tout its potential for improved air quality and, perhaps more importantly for many Californians, job creation. The Union of Concerned Scientists state that not only could a 33% renewable standard create over 500,000 new “green collar” jobs in the next several decade, but it would displace nearly 13 million metric tons of emissions in 2020 – the equivalent of taking almost 3 million cars off of California’s roads.
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