Battery Policies and Incentives Search

Use this tool from DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy to search for policies and incentives related to batteries developed for electric vehicles and stationary energy storage. Find information related to electric vehicle or energy storage financing for battery development, including:

  • grants, tax credits, and research funding;
  • battery policies and regulations; and
  • battery safety standards.

A new farming proposal to reduce carbon emissions involves a lot of trust – and a lot of uncertainty

Shutterstock

by Ralph Sims, Massey University

After decades of avoiding inclusion in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), New Zealand’s primary production sector has begrudgingly acknowledged that reducing on-farm emissions of greenhouse gases is an imperative.

Charged by the government with developing a pricing mechanism and strategy as an acceptable alternative to joining the ETS in 2025 under the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act, the sector finally released its proposal earlier this month.

Called He Waka Eke Noa, the partnership involves Federated Farmers, Dairy NZ, Sheep and Beef NZ, Horticulture NZ, the Foundation for Arable Research and the Federation of Māori Authorities.

Their recommendations have now been submitted to the government, which has until the end of this year to consider its options. However, numerous uncertainties surround the scheme, which will need to be addressed if it’s to work properly.

Farm emissions still rising

Since opposing a previous Labour government’s so-called “fart tax” in 2003, many farmers and their representative organisations have resisted inclusion in the ETS while also calling for government assistance to help cope with the impacts of climate change.

In 2015, Federated Farmers claimed voluntary levies had reduced emissions per unit of meat and milk produced by 1.3% a year since 1990 (achieving similar objectives to those of the loathed “fart tax”).

Regardless of these industry and government initiatives, however, annual agricultural emissions have risen 15%, from 34.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (emissions of all greenhouse gas added together) in 1990 to 39.4 million tonnes in 2020 (the latest available data) with no signs of decline.

He Waka Eke Noa recommends all agriculture and horticulture businesses above a certain size should be registered and encouraged to calculate their annual emissions. This will include both short-lived biogenic methane from ruminants and long-lived nitrous oxide from soils, as well as carbon dioxide from fertiliser manufacture (though fossil fuel emissions aren’t included).

A split-gas levy will then be charged, but at a much lower price per tonne than all other sectors are being charged under the ETS. The levy would increase each year, with its price determined by a “systems oversight board”.

Typically the annual levy, as proposed for a large dairy, sheep or beef farm, could exceed NZ$30,000, whereas it might be only $100 for an orchard, based on synthetic fertiliser use.

Fossil fuel inputs are excluded from the partnership, reducing incentives for improving efficiencies. Shutterstock

Doubts and uncertainties

In order to reduce their annual emissions and hence the levy paid, the intention is that farm businesses will have an incentive to use carbon mitigation technologies and introduce forest sinks on their property.

Fossil fuel energy inputs are already covered under the ETS so have been excluded. Unfortunately, this prohibits any incentives being applied for reducing diesel consumption by improving the efficiency of machinery, displacing coal and gas used for heating, or even generating renewable electricity from solar, wind, micro-hydro, crop residues or animal waste resources available on the farm.

He Waka Eke Noa analysis points to a reduction of agricultural emissions of just a few percent by 2030 from both the uptake of new technologies and farm forest sequestration.

Assumed total administration costs of around $120 million to $130 million will be necessary to achieve an annual emissions reduction of about two million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030 if successful. Such an annual reduction should be ongoing, although the levy prices charged are yet to be determined.

Therefore the overall cost measured in terms of dollars per tonne of carbon dioxide avoided, and the revenue to be obtained from the levy for investment in research and development, are not known.

There are numerous other uncertainties. What percentage of farm businesses will register, calculate their emissions and then dutifully pay the levy? What happens to those who don’t wish to take part? Who will monitor the accuracy of their annual submissions and using what methods?

It has been acknowledged that much trust in the farming community will be involved.

A 2003 protest in Auckland against the government’s proposed ‘fart tax’. Getty Images

Unanswered questions

Furthermore, what happens when no more suitable, low-grade land is available for forest sequestration? Planting trees can only be a short-term measure to buy time before having to reduce domestic carbon emissions more stringently.

Under the ETS, the minimum land area for registering a forest sink is one hectare, so the carbon uptake can be measured and monitored. How will numerous small areas of trees on thousands of farms be monitored, and future carbon loss from harvesting, storm damage or fire accounted for?

Areas of mature indigenous forest are in carbon balance so they cannot sequester more carbon. However, if the trees have been damaged by stock or pests whose removal allows some regrowth, how will this be measured in practice?

Perhaps the main question to ask is, given the relatively low prices likely to be applied per tonne of emissions, how many mitigation technologies will prove economic to implement?

For example, if the 2030 levy price on methane is $15 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent, whereas the cost of mitigation strategies (such as using seaweed additives in cow feed) comes in at $20, then why would a dairy farmer bother?

‘Dead rats’ to swallow

Ultimately for a farm business it will be a balancing act between costs and achieving emission reduction goals. As the Climate Change Commissioner has said:

Agricultural emissions pricing needs to achieve emissions reductions – but if implemented poorly it also has the potential to create financial hardship for farmers as they transition to low emissions.

And in the words of the president of Federated Farmers:

Like all of these types of agreements with many parties involved, there’s always going to be a couple of dead rats you have to swallow.

So whether the ministers of climate change and agriculture will swallow a dead rat or two and accept these industry recommendations – with all their uncertainties and lack of high ambition – remains to be seen.

Or will the primary sector be made to join the ETS after all? If so, the fart tax might have been a better outcome for farmers in the first place.

Ralph Sims, Emeritus Professor, Energy and Climate Mitigation, Massey University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

How New Jersey’s environmental justice law is beginning to affect operators around the country

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

Environmental lawyer Matthew Karmel offers insight on the law’s newly-released draft regulations, plus M&A considerations and tips for navigating EJ risk assessments in any state.

Canada to ban making, importing many single-use plastics from Dec

Read the full story at Reuters.

The government of Canada on Monday published final regulations to prohibit “harmful” single-use plastics, with a ban on manufacturing and importing most of these items to come into effect in December.

The ban will be on single-use plastics including checkout bags, cutlery, food-service ware made from or containing plastic that is hard to recycle, ring carriers, stir sticks and straws, the Canadian government said in a statement.

As storm season begins, White House building code initiative aims to cut energy waste, build resilient homes

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

The Atlantic hurricane season began Wednesday and the White House seized the opportunity to launch a National Initiative to Advance Building Codes, aiming to encourage adoption of new construction standards, reduce energy waste and make communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Through the initiative, the Biden administration plans to provide incentives and support for state, local, Tribal and territorial governments to adopt updated building codes and standards. The federal government will also “lead by example” and require its own new, large construction and modernization projects to have net-zero emissions.

Adopting stronger building codes can help the U.S. meet decarbonization targets while saving consumers money, say advocates. “This is exactly what the federal government needs to be doing to start the modern building transition,” Building Decarbonization Coalition Executive Director Panama Bartholomy said in an email. 

DOE’s manufactured home efficiency rule disappoints conservation advocates, manufacturers

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

The U.S. Department of Energy on Wednesday adopted new energy efficiency standards for manufactured homes, also known as mobile homes, setting different conservation requirements for single- and multi-section structures to balance up-front affordability against long-term cost savings.

The rules, including new insulation and sealing requirements, could save residents up to $450 annually on utility bills, DOE estimated. About 17 million Americans live in manufactured homes, which are constructed off-site as opposed to traditional stick-built homes.

DOE’s new rules have been criticized by both efficiency advocates, who argue the tiered standard is too lax, and home manufacturers, who say it will drive up costs.

Webinar: Development of Battery Collection Best Practices and Labeling Feedback

Jun 30, 2022 11 am CDT
Register here.

EPA is hosting virtual feedback sessions to provide input on new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law initiatives about end-of-life battery collection and labeling. This session is for all stakeholders involved in the battery lifecycle to provide input on new battery recycling initiatives. This includes:

  • battery manufacturers;
  • battery retailers;
  • battery recyclers;
  • consumers and businesses that purchase batteries;
  • companies in the electric vehicle management chain; and
  • tribal, state, and local government agencies.

EPA is seeking feedback on:

  • What types of batteries should EPA include in the best practices for collection (e.g., small consumer batteries, electric vehicle and grid storage batteries, industrial batteries, etc.)?
  • What are the current barriers to safe and effective battery collection and recycling?
  • What practices exist to improve battery collection and recycling, especially to increase the safe recovery of critical minerals?
  • What types of communication and outreach activities are most useful to reach key battery stakeholders?
  • What existing labeling programs should EPA use to inform a new labeling program?

EPA warns toxic ‘forever chemicals’ more dangerous than once thought

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

The Environmental Protection Agency warned Wednesday that a group of human-made chemicals found in the drinking water, cosmetics and food packaging used by millions of Americans pose a greater danger to human health than regulators previously thought.

The new health advisories for a ubiquitous class of compounds known as polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, underscore the risk facing dozens of communities across the country. Linked to infertility, thyroid problems and several types of cancer, these “forever chemicals” can persist in the environment for years without breaking down.

Federal suppliers to be required to report carbon emissions

Read the full story at Bloomberg Law.

The Biden administration will soon propose a rule requiring major companies that supply goods and services to the federal government to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, a White House official said Wednesday.

The rule will be distinct from—but similar to—the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s March proposal that requires publicly-traded companies to report their carbon emissions in their registration statements and annual reports, according to Andrew Mayock, federal chief sustainability officer at the Council on Environmental Quality.

He provided few details about the proposal, except to say it will require suppliers to report on greenhouse gases, “report on climate risk, and required to set science-based targets,” and that it will be issued “in the very near future.”

The federal government is planning to phase out single-use plastics at national parks

Read the full story from NPR.

The U.S. Interior Department, which helps oversee the country’s national parks, says it is planning to phase out single-use plastics on its land and facilities by 2032.

The agency would be tasked with finding alternative materials to disposable plastics, such as cutlery, bags, cups, bottles, straws and food containers, it announced Tuesday in honor of World Ocean Day.

Suggested alternatives include paper, bioplastics, composite, reusable cloth, glass, aluminum, stainless steel, or any other compostable or recyclable materials.