#Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan 2020 #ActOnClimate #KeepItInTheGround

Click here to read the report. Here’s the Executive Summary:

In 2018, Colorado released its first electric vehicle (EV) plan,1 setting forth goals, actions and strategies to develop EV fast-charging corridors across the state and establishing a target of 940,000 EVs by 2030. The state has seen significant achievements in the two years since the plan’s release, including:

  • Award of a contract to ChargePoint for the build-out of EV fast-charging stations at 33 sites along Colorado’s major transportation corridors;
  • State investment to install 351 EV chargers across Colorado;
  • Adoption of a zero emission vehicle (ZEV) standard in August 2019 with the support of the auto manufacturing industry;
  • Dedication of all remaining state Volkswagen diesel settlement funds to ZEV charging infrastructure and zero emission buses, shuttles and trucks including first round grant awards totaling $13.9 million to six transit agencies for 23 battery electric buses and supporting infrastructure— with a second round of awards to be announced in spring 2020; and
  • More than doubling the number of EVs registered in Colorado from 11,238 in August 2017 to over 24,000 in June 2019.
  • Despite these achievements, more needs to be done. Environmental impacts from the transportation sector— and the resulting health and economic consequences— are a major concern. Greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles will soon be the top source of emissions in Colorado and a significant portion of the state is classified as an ozone non-attainment area by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Transportation is one of the two largest sources of ozone precursors along with oil and gas production, and reducing transportation emissions is a critical strategy to meet federal health-based air quality standards.

    The vision for the Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan 2020 is: Large-scale transition of Colorado’s transportation system to zero emission vehicles, with a long-term goal of 100% of light-duty vehicles being electric and 100% of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles being zero emission.

    This will be accomplished by taking actions to meet five goals:

  • Increasing the number of light-duty EVs to 940,000 by 2030;
  • Developing plans for transitioning medium-duty (MDV), heavy-duty (HDV) and transit vehicles to ZEVs;
  • Developing an EV infrastructure goal by undertaking a gap analysis to identify the type and number of charging stations needed across the state to meet 2030 light-duty vehicle (LDV), MDV and HDV goals;
  • State government agencies meeting directives and goals related to EVs from the updated Greening State Government Executive Order; and
  • Developing a roadmap to full electrification of the light-duty vehicle fleet in Colorado
  • Despite near-average #snowpack, the #SanJuanRiver Basin will likely see below-average #runoff — The Farmington Daily-Times

    San Miguel, Dolores, Animas, and San Juan Basin High/Low graph April 23, 2020 via the NRCS.

    From The Farmington Daily Times (Hannah Grover):

    This winter brought near-average snowpack to the mountains in Colorado that feed the rivers and reservoirs in San Juan County, but the Bureau of Reclamation is still anticipating below average runoff.

    That means there will not be a spring peak release from Navajo Dam this year.

    The Bureau of Reclamation canceled its Navajo Dam operations meeting, scheduled for this week, due to the coronavirus. Instead, Susan Behery, a hydraulic engineer with the BOR’s Western Colorado Area office in Durango, sent out an email with the information that would have been presented during the meeting.

    According to the power point presentation that would have been given during the meeting, dry soil conditions will reduce the runoff as the snow melts.

    The snow-water equivalent in the San Juan Basin is at 84% of normal. Meanwhile, the Animas Basin’s snow-water equivalent is at 94% of normal and the Dolores Basin has 91% of its normal snow-water equivalent, according to the presentation.

    Drought conditions in the Four Corners area will likely persist, according to the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook released April 16 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    The BOR anticipates Navajo Reservoir will peak between 6,060 and 6,065 feet this year and it is not planning any high releases for this spring. That means the releases from the dam will remain at or near the current levels.

    After the runoff season ends, these releases could increase to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers and to maintain the target baseflow for endangered fish in portions of the San Juan River deemed critical habitat. Those releases could vary from 500 to 1,000 cubic feet per second.

    Westwide SNOTEL April 24, 2020 via the NRCS.

    Changes in snowmelt threaten farmers in western United States — National Science Foundation #snowpack #runoff

    The findings pinpointed basins around the world most at risk of not having enough water available at the right times for irrigation because of changes in snowmelt patterns. Two of those high-risk areas are the San Joaquin and Colorado river basins in the western United States. Photo: Kevin Bidwell/ Pexels

    From The National Science Foundation (NSF Public Affairs):

    April 23, 2020

    Farmers in parts of the western United States who rely on snowmelt to help irrigate their crops will be among the hardest hit in the world by climate change, a new study reveals.

    In a paper published in Nature Climate Change, researchers funded by the National Science Foundation analyzed monthly demand for irrigation water along with snowmelt runoff across global basins from 1985 to 2015. The goal was to determine where irrigated agriculture has depended on snowmelt runoff in the past, and how that might change with a warming climate.

    The researchers then projected the changes in snowmelt and rainfall runoff if Earth warms by 2 to 4 degrees Celsius (about 3.5 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit).

    The findings pinpointed basins most at risk of having water at the right times for irrigation because of changes in snowmelt patterns. Two of those high-risk areas are the San Joaquin and Colorado river basins in the western United States.

    “In many areas of the world, agriculture depends on snowmelt runoff happening at certain times and at certain magnitudes,” said Yue Qin, a geographer at The Ohio State University. “But climate change is going to cause less snow and early melting in some basins, which could have profound effects on food production.”

    Qin, lead author of the study, designed the research with Nathaniel Mueller of Colorado State University and Steven Davis of the University of California, Irvine.

    If Earth warms by 4 degrees, the researchers project decreases in the share of irrigation water demand met by snowmelt of 33 percent to 18 percent in the San Joaquin Basin and 38 percent to 23 percent in the Colorado Basin.

    Other basins in which agriculture is at particular risk because of changes in snowmelt are in Southern Europe, western China and Central Asia.

    “This study shows the importance of water resources from snowmelt on agricultural practices, and the potential impact of climate change on this precious resource,” says Ingrid Padilla, a program director in NSF’s Division of Earth Sciences.

    Why I am doubling down on digital for water — GreenBiz #COVID19 #coronavirus

    The secrets of water revealed: UD’s computer simulation of water molecules is based exclusively on quantum physics laws. Figure by Omololu Akin-Ojo and David Barczak via The University of Delaware. http://www1.udel.edu/PR/UDaily/2007/mar/water030207.html

    From GreenBiz (Will Sarni):

    There are, and will continue to be, no shortage of lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. What sticks and transforms society, business and the public sector is up to us.

    We can focus on attempting to return to what we believed was “normal” or we can learn to rebuild and redesign society and businesses in a more equitable, sustainable and resilient manner.

    One lesson from our current social and business reality is that digital technology solutions have become an even more critical aspect of our lives. Let me expand on what this means for water and why I am doubling down on digital water technologies to ensure access to water, sanitation and hygiene.

    More than ever it is clear that access to water is critical for society, businesses and ecosystems.

    No water, no anything. And now digital technology solutions are an ever-increasing tool in ensuring access to water for a range of uses — such as drinking water, hand washing, agriculture and manufacturing.

    Late last year, I authored “2019, the year analog water solutions died.” When this was published, the digital transformation of water was well underway, and I believed that analog solutions were no longer adequate to address water scarcity and quality. This article was followed recently by “Digital Tools Must Help us Address Water Scarcity” during the early days of the pandemic. In the last few weeks, we have seen the importance of digital tools dramatically increase, and now they are a critical component of the water sector.

    The most obvious need for digital water tech is in the water and wastewater utility sector as water professionals, in many cities and regions, are “sheltering in place” at their utilities.
    The importance of the ongoing operation of these utilities can’t be overstated, and the pandemic has strained their workforce.

    A recent American Water Works Association survey asked, “What challenges to sustaining business operations is your organization anticipating due to COVID-19?” Of the utilities that responded, 75 percent indicated that “Absenteeism and the Continuity of Operations” was their No. 1 challenge, with impacts on field operations being No. 2 at 46 percent. It has become clear that the water utility workforce needs digital tools such as smart water meters and artificial intelligence to support it not just during these times but also going forward.

    The pandemic is a reminder of the critical role that drinking water and wastewater systems play in protecting public health and safety and supporting the social and economic well-being of all communities.

    A recent pa­per, “Coronavirus and Water: Immediate Action to Improve Resiliency Now and in the Future,” framed the role of digital technologies in addressing pandemic-related challenges but also in driving significant economic and environmental improvements.

    These digital solutions can provide remote monitoring and control of processes and critical infrastructure, ensuring continuity in service when staff are working remotely. Additionally, when absenteeism occurs, digital technologies can augment decreased and strained resources and mitigate the risks of service interruptions.

    These technologies also have been used during times when utilities have had challenges with recruitment. Using data analytics and implementing digital water strategies delivers direct operational and environmental benefits to a utility operation, both during a crisis and during its resilient recovery.

    The digital transformation of the water sector is driving new business and investment opportunities. For example, Bluefield Research reported in January that “digital water in the U.S. and Canada is forecasted to grow 6.5 percent annually, far outpacing the growth of the broader municipal water and wastewater sector over the next decade.” This is an encouraging sign that more and more, utilities are recognizing the potential for digital technologies to transform their operations and mitigate the risk of failure during a crisis event.

    Digital solutions to support our utility workforces are the only option. We need to ensure these technologies are deployed by adequately funding our water infrastructure. Neglect of our critical water infrastructure in the U.S. is also no longer an option.

    The pandemic is battering oil-state economies — @HighCountryNews #COVID19 #coronavirus

    From The High Country News [April 23, 2020] (Jonathan Thompson):

    COVID-19 reverberates across the energy world.

    Graphic credit: The High Country News

    In mid-January, when the epidemic was still mostly confined to China, officials there put huge cities on lockdown in order to stem the spread. Hundreds of flights into and out of the nation were canceled, and urban streets stood empty of cars. China’s burgeoning thirst for oil diminished, sending global crude prices into a downward spiral.

    And when oil prices fall, it hurts states like New Mexico, which relies on oil and gas royalties and taxes for more than one-third of its general fund. “An unexpected drop in oil prices would send the state’s energy revenues into a tailspin,” New Mexico’s Legislative Finance Committee warned last August. Even the committee’s worst-case scenario, however, didn’t look this bad.
    Now, with COVID-19 spanning the globe, every sector of the economy is feeling the pain — with the exception, perhaps, of toilet paper manufacturers and bean farmers. But energy-dependent states and communities will be among the hardest hit.

    Graphic via The High Country News

    At the end of December, the U.S. benchmark price for a barrel of oil was $62. By mid-March, as folks worldwide stopped flying and driving, it had dipped to around $20, before falling into negative territory, and then leveling off around $10 in April. The drilling rigs — and the abundant jobs that once came with them — are disappearing; major oil companies are announcing deep cuts in drilling and capital expenditures for the rest of the year, and smaller, debt-saddled companies will be driven into the ground.

    Graphic via The High Country News

    COVID-19 and related shocks to the economy are reverberating through the energy world in other ways. Shelter-in-place orders and the rise in people working from home have changed the way Americans consume electricity: Demand decreased nationwide by 10% in March. As airlines ground flights, demand for jet fuel wanes. And people just aren’t driving that much, despite falling gasoline prices, now that they have orders to stay home and few places to go to, anyway.

    Graphic via The High Country News

    The slowdown will bring a few temporary benefits: The reduction in drilling will give landscapes and wildlife a rest and result in lower methane emissions. In Los Angeles, the ebb in traffic has already brought significantly cleaner air. And the continued decline in burning coal for electricity has reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

    Graphic via The High Country News

    But the long-term environmental implications may not be so rosy. In the wake of recession, governments typically try to jumpstart the economy with stimulus packages to corporations, economic incentives for oil companies, and regulatory rollbacks to spur consumption and production. The low interest rates and other fiscal policies that followed the last global financial crisis helped drive the energy boom of the decade that followed. And the Trump administration has not held back in its giveaways to industry. The Environmental Protection Agency is already using the outbreak as an excuse to ease environmental regulations and enforcement, and even with all the nation’s restrictions, the Interior Department continues to issue new oil and gas leases at rock-bottom prices. [ed. emphasis mine]

    Graphic via The High Country News

    The impacts on energy state coffers will unfold over the coming weeks and months. But the shock to working folk from every economic sector has come swiftly. During the third week of March, more than 3 million Americans filed for unemployment — more than 10 times the claims from a year prior.

    A view of the interchange of Highway 60 and Interstate 710 during the coronavirus pandemic on April 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. The county’s stay-at-home order has drastically decreased the traffic flow in and around Los Angeles. Photo credit: Roger Kisby/High Country News

    Infographic design by Luna Anna Archey. Sources: U.S. Energy Information Administration, New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, California Independent System Operator, Baker-Hughes, Unacast, FlightRadar24, Wyoming Department of Revenue, Carbon Footprint, International Air Transport Association, OAG.

    Jonathan Thompson is a contributing editor at High Country News. He is the author of River of Lost Souls: The Science, Politics and Greed Behind the Gold King Mine Disaster. Email him at jonathan@hcn.org