DNREC Seeks Contractor Applications for Solar Pilot Program

An installer outfits a residence with solar panels

 

Two-Year Program Targets Low- to Moderate-Income Households

Low- to moderate-income homeowners who have found installation of solar panels beyond their reach could get assistance with a pilot program expected to launch next year.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is requesting applications from contractors to participate in the program. Applications are due by January 21, 2022.

The 2-year pilot program expects to serve at least 50 clients per year.

Solar panels
Solar panels

The pilot program seeks to test expansion of residential solar Photovoltaic systems into the low- to moderate-income market segments, which have been underserved by existing renewable energy assistance programs. Experience acquired by the Department during the pilot program will be used develop a statewide solar program that will provide services to low- to moderate-income homes regardless of electric utility service territory.

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions through transitioning to cleaner energy sources is a key component of Delaware’s Climate Action Plan,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “Unfortunately, for some families, installing solar panels is outside their budget. This pilot program will help us identify the best ways to help low- and moderate-income families make the switch.”

Selected qualified contractors will be required to also apply through the Green Energy Program for approval as a participating contractor as a condition of participating in the pilot program. The Green Energy Program provides grants and incentives to promote the use of renewable energy in Delaware.

The DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy, which is overseeing the program, will provide a list of low-income clients eligible for the pilot program that have recently received services through the DNREC Weatherization Assistance Program. Under the terms of the Request For Qualifications, selected contractors are required provide information in their proposal indicating how they would market to and recruit moderate income households.

Funding for the program will come from the Weatherization Assistance Program and the Green Energy Fund.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, Michael.globetti@delaware.gov or Jim Lee, JamesW.Lee@delaware.gov.

###


DNREC Announces $1.4 Million in Grant Funding to Expand Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Stations

Competitive Grants to Install DC-Fast Charging Stations Will Facilitate Electric Vehicle Adoption and Improve Air Quality

Improving the availability of public charging stations for the growing number of electric vehicles on Delaware roads is the goal of a grant program announced this week by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).

The public direct current, or DC-fast electric vehicle charging installation funding will provide up to 75% of the cost to build publicly available DC-fast charging stations for electric vehicles. DNREC expects to award one to three grants with the program’s $1.4 million funding.

Funding will be targeted to increase the availability of electric vehicle infrastructure in areas where access to fast charging stations is limited.

Transportation is the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in Delaware. Today’s announcement follows closely on the heels of the release of Delaware’s Climate Action Plan, which outlines strategies and actions the state can take to reduce the emissions that cause climate change. Widespread adoption of electric vehicles and installation of charging infrastructure to support the growing number of electric vehicle drivers are key strategies in Delaware’s Climate Action Plan, available at de.gov/climateplan.

“Vehicle electrification is a leading strategy in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from our transportation system,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “By providing funding opportunities for businesses to install charging stations, we are combatting climate change, improving public health and providing new job opportunities.”

The funding builds upon Delaware’s Clean Transportation Incentive Programs, which include a suite of rebates for light-duty electric vehicles and Level 2 charging stations.

Proposals are due by April 15, 2022. Project funds will be administered by the DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy. Funding comes from the Environmental Mitigation Trust, which resulted from the state’s plan to use $9.6 million from the negotiated settlement between Volkswagen and the federal government.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov or Jim Lee, JamesW.Lee@delaware.gov

###


Governor Carney Launches Tree for Every Delawarean Initiative (TEDI)

Public invited to enter trees they plant in new TEDI tracker

NEW CASTLE, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday launched a new program that aims to plant a tree for every Delawarean as part of the state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This initiative was originally announced in Governor Carney’s 2020 State of the State Address and discussed in Delaware’s Climate Action Plan as a strategy to support local communities’ enhancement of urban greenspaces.

Click here for photos from the event.

“Last week, when I announced Delaware’s Climate Action Plan, I said that as the country’s lowest-lying state, climate change is a very real threat to Delaware’s future,” said Governor Carney. “Reducing emissions is essential to our efforts to deal with climate change, and the Tree for Every Delawarean Initiative – TEDI – helps us move forward on accomplishing one of the strategies outlined in the Climate Action Plan.”

“We all have a stake in improving our environmental health to ensure a stronger and healthier Delaware,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “By involving the community and encouraging Delawareans across the state to plant trees, we are taking steps to mitigate carbon emissions and their impact on our state, our children and future generations.”

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Secretary Shawn M. Garvin and Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) Secretary Michael T. Scuse joined Governor Carney, Lt. Governor Hall-Long, state and county officials, and stakeholders at a tree planting at Lieutenant Szczerba Memorial Park in New Castle to help launch the program. The two state agencies are partnering on the initiative.

DNREC and the Delaware Department of Agriculture partnered to develop a new website where residents can access information on selecting, planting, and caring for their trees. In addition, residents, non-profit organizations, and municipalities can visit de.gov/tedi to enter information and photos of their tree plantings to help count the trees planted throughout the state.

Healthy and resilient forests are a vital part of the efforts to combat the negative impacts of climate change. As part of a comprehensive approach in Delaware’s Climate Action Plan that includes energy efficiency, clean transportation and transitioning to clean energy sources. Planting and nurturing trees is a nature-based solution to reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

“Along with our programs that help Delawareans reduce their energy use, TEDI provides an opportunity for everyone to contribute to our statewide effort to improve air and water quality, preserve soil, and support wildlife – all while reducing the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin.

Urban trees and forests help decrease energy use and emissions by providing shade, cooling temperatures and changing wind speeds. Studies have shown trees can reduce temperatures by 9 degrees and energy and heating costs by $7.8 billion a year in the United States.

Encompassing 1.25 million acres, Delaware has nearly 360,000 forested acres. With 78 percent of the state’s forests privately owned, the Delaware Forest Service provides technical assistance, funding and education to serve as a foundation for tree planting, conservation, reforestation, forest management and wildlife protection throughout Delaware.

“We are proud to have the Delaware Forest Service as part of the Department of Agriculture. With fewer than 25 staff, the Forest Service continually works with communities and private landowners all over Delaware to harness the power of trees to transform communities,” said Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse. “The Tree for Every Delawarean Initiative is an important investment in our state’s forestland that will help improve our economy and public health. Every $1 million invested in tree planting and reforestation efforts creates 40 forest-related jobs. And from a health perspective, research has shown that trees absorb 17.4 million tons of air pollutants a year, helping to prevent 670,000 cases of asthma and other acute respiratory symptoms annually.”

DDA’s Urban and Community Forestry Program works to increase tree canopy in communities statewide. The Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program has provided more than $1.86 million in matching tree grants for more than 588 projects in the First State – with more than 16,000 trees planted. Municipalities, communities and organizations can assess their current level of tree cover as a starting point to explore opportunities to plant new trees using the Delaware Forest Service’s online tree canopy tool at de.gov/treecanopy

###


Governor Carney Releases Plan Outlining Delaware’s Path Forward on Climate Change

Reducing Emissions, Maximizing Resilience are Key Priorities

NEW CASTLE, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday released Delaware’s Climate Action Plan surrounded by members of his Cabinet, environmental leaders, and members of the General Assembly. The main goals of the Climate Action Plan are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to better prepare for the impacts of climate change by prioritizing clean energy and improved energy efficiency, providing support to state agencies in resilience efforts and increasing research and monitoring.

“Climate change threatens our $3.5 billion tourism industry and 44,000 jobs, our $8 billion agricultural industry, the health of our citizens and the financial well-being of our local, county and state governments,” said Governor Carney. “The strategies in the Climate Action Plan can be implemented over time, as resources, data and partnerships develop. Taking these actions to reduce emissions will allow Delaware to meet or exceed its 2025 reduction target and make further emissions reductions in the years ahead.”

Delaware’s Climate Action Plan serves three primary purposes: To help meet current commitments; to set a course for the decades ahead; and to integrate actions for both minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and maximizing resilience to climate change impacts.

“Delaware is already feeling the effects of climate change, and many of these effects are projected to worsen over the next few decades,” said Shawn M. Garvin, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). “The Climate Action Plan provides a roadmap of strategies and actions that state agencies can take to minimize emissions and maximize resilience to climate change.”

The Climate Action Plan identifies five key action areas to minimize greenhouse gas emissions, and seven action areas that state agencies can focus on to improve resilience to climate impacts we are witnessing today, including sea level rise, warmer temperatures and more intense and frequent storms.

“It is our collective responsibility to do all that we can to minimize the disastrous impact of climate change on our public’s health and economy, so that our children and future generations have access to safe water, clean air, and clean energy. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of rising sea levels will put Delaware on a sustainable path to create an eco-friendly future that preserves the health and natural beauty of our great state,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “I want to thank DNREC, DelDOT, legislators, and the many stakeholders for their leadership on this issue and for implementing the Climate Action Plan that will help ensure the welfare of our state’s environment. It is a promise for a stronger and healthier Delaware to our children.”

Key action areas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions include:

  • clean and renewable energy;
  • energy efficiency;
  • transportation;
  • reducing high global warming potential greenhouse gases;
  • natural and working lands.

Key action areas to maximize resilience include:

  • updating or creating state regulations
  • supporting communities and stakeholders;
  • creating management plans;
  • updating facility design and operation;
  • promoting research and monitoring;
  • engaging in outreach and education;
  • providing agency support.

Through Governor Carney’s commitment to the U.S. Climate Alliance, Delaware has adopted a goal of reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 26% to 28% by 2025 from 2005 levels.

The Climate Action Plan is the result of a year-long process that involved residents, businesses and organizations from across Delaware.

More than 250 people participated in an initial round of public workshops, held in each county in March 2020. A follow-up series of virtual workshops held in September and October of 2020 attracted nearly 390 attendees across five sessions. Online surveys in the spring and fall of 2020 — aimed at gathering input from those unable to attend a public workshop — garnered more than 520 responses. Additionally, more than 50 written comments and questions on the plan were submitted.

###


Test Your Climate Change Knowledge

Do You Know How Delaware Is Impacted?

The impacts of climate change are being felt around the world, but the effects look different depending on where you are.

Test your knowledge of climate change’s impacts in Delaware by taking a quick, interactive quiz developed by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) as a way to recognize and celebrate Earth Day 2021.

In June, 2017, Gov. John Carney announced Delaware had joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of states committed to upholding the Paris Agreement to combat climate change.

“Climate Change is a very real threat to our future,” Gov. Carney said at the time.

A key component of the Paris Agreement is for nations to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, which have increased dramatically since the industrial revolution. In particular, the burning of coal, natural gas and oil for energy and heat has raised atmospheric carbon dioxide to record levels, according to a 2020 NASA report, “Scientific Consensus: Earth’s Climate is Warming.”

The DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy has several energy-related programs designed to help businesses and residents become more energy efficient as a way to reduce emissions. Additional programs provide incentives for alternative fuel vehicles. And in February, Gov. Carney signed legislation that increased Delaware’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards, mandating that 40% of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2035.

In conjunction with these efforts, Delaware has been working for more than a decade to address the impacts of climate change the state is already witnessing, as well as preparing for future impacts.

The Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee, created in 2010, issued a series of reports, “Preparing for Tomorrow’s High Tide,” on how the state could prepare for rising sea levels. Other resources include reports on preparing a climate-ready workforce, climate mitigation and adaption planning and avoiding or minimizing risks of flood damage.
Residents agree that the state needs to take action. In a 2019 survey, 56% said they had personally experienced the impacts of climate change, and 70% say the state needs to take action to address it.

Delaware is also in the process of developing a Climate Action Plan. Due to be released in the coming months, the plan provides a roadmap for strategies the state could take to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and maximize our resilience to the impacts we are already experiencing, and which are projected to get worse.

Everyone plays a role in addressing the causes and consequences of climate change in Delaware. Take the quiz, then take a few moments to explore what the state has done, and the path Delaware will need to follow to ensure a bright future for Delawareans for generations to come.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Jim Lee, jamesw.lee@delaware.gov

###