New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a package of clean transportation initiatives, including a "Make Ready" order approved by the New York State Public Service Commission to advance the state’s commitment to accelerate its transition to cleaner mobility. The announcements support the governor's plan to decarbonize the transportation sector and reduce overall statewide carbon emissions 85% by 2050, as well as the recent collaborative announcement by New York, 14 other states, and Washington D.C. to ramp up the electrification of diesel buses and trucks by 2050.

"New York is leading the nation in efforts to combat climate change and reimagine our power systems with innovative clean energy policies and now we are taking major steps to decarbonize vehicles, including light and heavy-duty trucks and buses,” said Gov. Cuomo. "Through initiatives like the 'EV Make Ready' program, we are building out the infrastructure that is necessary to support the electrification of our transportation sector, while ensuring that every New Yorker can share in the benefits of this transition including cleaner air and new, well-paying jobs."

EV charging stations and infrastructure

The EV Make-Ready Program will be funded by investor-owned utilities in New York State and creates a cost-sharing program that incentivizes utilities and charging station developers to site electric vehicle charging infrastructure in places that expected to provide a maximal benefit to consumers. The PSC order caps the total budget at $701 million and will run through 2025, with $206 million allocated toward equitable access and benefits for lower-socio-economic and disadvantaged communities. Utilities will cover 90% of the cost of make-ready infrastructure for publicly accessible chargers, 50% for restricted, and 100% in disadvantaged communities.

The plan is designed to guarantee 20% of each utility’s budget be directed within 1-2 miles of a disadvantaged community to increase the visibility and accessibility of EV charging infrastructure, as well as increase electric miles driven by ride-hailing services in and around environmental justice areas.

The Long Island Power Authority, with its service provider, PSEG Long Island announced a goal to support 180,000 new EVs on Long Island with 4650 new EV charging ports by 2025, beginning with a proposed 2021 investment of $4.4 million in make-ready infrastructure.

In addition to the Make Ready funding from investor-owned utilities, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is allocating $48.8 million from the Volkswagen diesel emissions settlement to transit bus and school bus operators and EV charging station owners to advance local growth of electric vehicle infrastructure, clean public transportation and transit options, and electric school buses.

The commission action will provide funding for the infrastructure required to support more than 50,000 Level 2 charging plugs and 1500 public direct current fast charger stations in New York to combat consumer range anxiety. Encouraging private investment in publicly accessible fast-charging stations aims to stimulate the EV market in New York over the coming years. The work to implement the program will primarily be undertaken by the state's investor-owned utilities.

Further electrification

New York is also boosting options for fleets to tackle the challenges of reducing the carbon emissions they produce. The New York Power Authority and NYSERDA will partner with transit operators and provide up to $1 million to study the challenges of zero emissions bus fleets and identify solutions for electrification including bus options, charging needs, and other logistical challenges.

To further accelerate the electrification of light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicle fleets and in support of the multi-state medium- and heavy-duty transportation electrification MOU announced this week, the commission has also directed the utilities to create a Fleet Assessment Service that includes site feasibility and rate analysis, to aide fleet owners in identifying cost- and time-saving synergies. The deployment of charging infrastructure that will occur under the order will enable access to public charging for EV adopters, which coupled with innovative rate designs for home charging to promote off-peak charging, aims to maximize utility system efficiency. The need to make rate design modifications will be reviewed as the EV initiative moves forward.

A proposed competition

In addition to the initiatives to electrify vehicles and truck fleets benefiting environmental justice and disadvantaged communities, the commission has also directed NYSERDA to propose an integrated competition, with up to $85 million of the EV Make Ready total budget, designed to directly address emissions, equity, and electrification in communities near high-density and congested streets and public highways. Three prize areas will focus on supporting clean transportation options which benefit lower socioeconomic and environmental justice communities:

  • The Environmental Justice Community Clean Vehicles Transformation Prize, a $40 million program focused on reducing harmful air pollution in frontline communities and creating transportation "green zones" across New York State
  • The Clean Personal Mobility Prize, a $25 million program soliciting innovative and high-impact approaches that enable access to clean transportation services for disadvantaged and underserved communities;
  • The Clean Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Innovation Prize, a $20 million program designed to achieve direct benefits; allow concrete investigation of opportunities, costs, and benefits; and prove innovative and high-impact approaches to medium- and heavy-duty electrification that can be replicated at scale, including for "last-mile" solutions, one of the fastest growing emissions sources in this class of vehicles.

The New York State Department of State is collaborating with the New York Power Authority to expand deployment of DC fast chargers in downtown communities through the governor's Downtown Revitalization Initiative. DOS and NYPA will work with local governments and key stakeholders to identify communities participating in the DRI that may be interested in hosting public fast chargers. The first downtown chargers will be installed through this program fall of 2021. In addition, through its EVolve NY initiative, NYPA has recently installed two new DC fast charger stations in key Mid-Hudson locations and is working with the New York State Thruway to upgrade its plaza charging stations.

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