Testimony in support of LD 122, An Act to Authorize the Efficiency Maine Trust to Establish a Program to Support the Uptake of Medium-duty and Heavy-duty Zero-emission Vehicles by Maine Businesses and to Establish a Medium-duty and Heavy-duty Zero-emission Vehicle-to-grid Pilot Project
Senator Lawrence, Representative Zeigler, distinguished members of the Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology. My name is Josh Caldwell. I am the Climate and Clean Energy Outreach Coordinator at the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM), and I am testifying today in support of LD 122, An Act to Authorize the Efficiency Maine Trust to Establish a Program to Support the Uptake of Medium-duty and Heavy-duty Zero-emission Vehicles by Maine Businesses and to Establish a Medium-duty and Heavy-duty Zero-emission Vehicle-to-grid Pilot Project.
Implement Maine’s Climate Action Plan
Maine’s Clean Transportation Roadmap identifies vehicle electrification as the number one mechanism to meeting our climate goals in the transportation sector. In Maine, more than half of all greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, with 27 percent of those emissions attributable to medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Incentivizing the purchase and use of zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles is a top priority for the state to meet the climate goals laid out in Maine’s Climate Action Plan.
Support Maine Businesses
Transitioning to electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicles is an essential step in moving Maine toward climate solutions and will also save money over time on fuel costs for Maine businesses. In order to actualize those climate benefits and those savings, we need to support businesses as they seek to purchase new zero-emission vehicles. New vehicles require a significant upfront expenditure for businesses operating medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, and incentives such as this to help them make those purchases will lead to long-term savings and climate benefits.
Improve Health Outcomes
Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles represent approximately 6 percent of the on-road fleet as of 2020 but generate 59 percent of ozone- and particle-forming NOx emissions and 55 percent of the particle pollution (including brake and tire particles). Historically marginalized and low-income communities are disproportionately affected by this pollution. Incentivizing the transition to zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles will directly improve air quality in Maine and reduce the negative health impacts associated with pollution from combustion engines.
Early incentives have proved critical for accelerating clean energy technology adoption. Due to the massive investments from the auto industry in zero-emission vehicles, and new federal legislation focused on climate and electrification, we expect the adoption of zero-emission vehicles in Maine to expand exponentially over time. But the more quickly we can foster that transition, the sooner we will see the benefits of zero-emission vehicles become widespread across Maine, improving businesses’ bottom lines, health outcomes, and our ability to achieve the critical climate goals we’ve set as a state.
For these reasons we urge the Committee to support the passage of this important climate bill. Thank you for your consideration, and I welcome any questions that you may have.