Baker-Polito Administration Launches State Fleet Clean Energy Conversion Program

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Robert Fitzpatrick
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Sep 14, 2017 –

The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $1.3 million in grant funding for clean transportation upgrades to 52 vehicles that serve five state agency fleets. The awards will fund fuel-efficient technology upgrades at the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Massachusetts Environmental Police (MEP), Department of Correction (DOC), Department of Developmental Services (DDS), and Department of Youth Services (DYS). The upgrades were made possible by grants from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). The upgrades will be conducted by Massachusetts-based clean transportation technology company XL-Hybrids.

“Modernizing our state fleet with fuel-efficient technology will save taxpayer money on fuel costs and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are proud to support Massachusetts’ vibrant and growing cleantech industry and continue to lead the nation in clean energy innovation.”

“Working across state government is vital to our administration’s efforts to achieve a clean, reliable transportation future for the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.  “Upgrading our state fleets with innovative local technology benefits the Commonwealth, our business community, our taxpayers, and our environment.”

The vehicle conversions of the DCR and MEP vehicles have saved 650 gallons of gas to date and the agencies expect to save nearly 82,000 gallons over the life of the systems. The vehicles are up to 25 percent more efficient and the fleets have already seen an 18 percent decrease in carbon emissions. The upgrades for the DOC, DDS and DYS vehicles are expected to cut annual fuel costs by more than $10,000 as well as reduce brake maintenance costs and cut greenhouse gas emissions. 

“Building a clean transportation infrastructure is a crucial component of achieving our Global Warming Solutions Act emissions reduction limits,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton. “By working collaboratively across state government the Baker-Polito Administration is leading by example, saving taxpayer funds, and reducing our carbon footprint.”

These grants mark the first awards issued by DOER’s Leading by Example State Fleet Efficiency grant program, which seeks to increase the fuel efficiency of the state fleet by supporting the use of advanced vehicle technologies such as after-market alternative fuel and hybrid conversions, vehicle idle reduction technologies and Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs).  DOC, DDS and DYS will work with XL Hybrids, to complete the hybrid conversion of 14 DOC vans, nine DDS vans and two DYS vans.

“The Baker-Polito Administration has made historic investments in supporting the Commonwealth’s clean transportation sector and this new program is another important step in that effort,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson. “Massachusetts will only be able to achieve our ambitious clean vehicle adoption goal if all partners, public and private, take part in our efforts.”

MassCEC, which first invested in XL Hybrids in 2010, made the award as part of its mission to help public agencies, public academic institutions and municipalities adopt innovative clean energy technologies that will support the growth and development of Massachusetts-based clean energy companies and save taxpayer dollars. 

“By leveraging partnerships between the local cleantech industry and our state agencies, we can modernize our fleet with cutting-edge technology while saving taxpayer dollars,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “XL Hybrid’s technology provides a cost-effective solution for the Commonwealth by reducing fuel consumption and lowering operating costs.”

The agencies will use technologies developed by Brighton-based XL Hybrids to make the vehicle upgrades. XL Hybrids was awarded the grants through a competitive procurement process. Founded in 2009, XL Hybrids develops hybrid electric and plugin hybrid-electric powertrains systems that cut CO2 emissions and deliver an average of 20 to 50 percent improvement in miles driven per gallon. XL Hybrids contributed a cost share of $56,592 to cover costs associated with monitoring and reporting, service and labor for the DCR and Environmental Police vehicles.

“MassCEC first invested in XL Hybrids in 2010 and has seen the successful adoption of our hybrid-electric drive system from leading brands and fleets, including locally, The City of Boston, The City of Newton, Harvard University, Lasell College, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts state fleet,” said Tod Hynes, Founder and CEO of XL Hybrids. “Supporting Governor Baker’s Executive Order to combat climate change and upgrading fleet vehicles for state agencies align with our mission to make a real impact on the sustainability efforts for businesses and municipalities. We’re honored to have the support from the Commonwealth as we develop these technologies and grow our business.”

The grants were announced as part of “Climate Week,” a week highlighting Massachusetts’ efforts to prepare for and combat climate change and celebrating the one year anniversary of Governor Baker’s signing of Executive Order 569.  The Order, which builds on the administration’s nation-leading efforts to reduce emissions, lays out a comprehensive approach to further mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, and build a more resilient Commonwealth.

“One of the Senate’s major priorities is addressing climate change and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation remains one of the largest sectors of emissions and most difficult to curtail,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst). “With these grants and fleet upgrades, the Baker administration is making progress to meet our emissions targets under the Global Warming Solutions Act.”

“The transportation sector is our largest greenhouse gas emitter,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton), founding chair of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change. “I’m so pleased that the administration is moving forward to make our agency fleets clean and sustainable. This initiative brings us one step closer to meeting the legal requirements of the Global Warming Solutions Act and fighting the immense threats of climate change – all of which negatively impact our economy, environment and public health. Our coastal communities are threatened by sea level rise, our oceans are warming and our entire state is threatened by extreme weather events; we must aggressively move forward to protect our Commonwealth.”

“Once again, the Baker-Polito Administration is at the forefront of efforts to promote responsible state environmental policies,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading).  “Implementing fuel-efficient technology upgrades throughout the Commonwealth’s fleet of state vehicles will yield positive benefits for the environment as well as savings for the state’s taxpayers.”

“The transportation sector produces nearly 40 percent of our state’s greenhouse gas emissions, and personal vehicle use accounts for about 60 percent of that portion,” said State Representative Frank Smizik (D-Brookline). “Taking steps to reduce vehicle emissions is therefore of critical importance. With the roll-out of this initiative, Massachusetts can continue to lead the way toward a clean energy economy and future.”

MassCEC is funded by the Renewable Energy Trust, which was created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1998. A systems benefit charge paid by customers of investor owned utilities and five municipal electric departments that have opted into the program funds the trust.

The Leading by Example (LBE) program works with state agencies to meet specific target for greenhouse gas emission reductions, energy consumption reduction and renewable energy procurement. Since 2007, state agencies have made significant progress, including reducing GHG emissions by 26 percent, generating 15 percent of electricity demand from onsite renewable and combined heat and power sources, and reducing heating oil use by 78 percent. LBE results have contributed to Massachusetts being ranked for the past five years as the number one state for energy efficiency in the country by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). LBE is funded through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) auction revenue, administered by the DOER and allocated to energy efficiency and renewable energy programs across the Commonwealth.