Letter: Clean Ports Program
Ports across the U.S. will be waiting eagerly to hear about how they can apply for the new $3 billion Clean Ports Program grants. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to issue a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) in February/March 2024 with all grants allocated by the end of the year.
The huge grants on offer present a golden opportunity for ports to modernize their operations. At the program’s heart is the drive to reduce emissions by replacing diesel-powered equipment with clean alternatives.
Our advice, having worked closely with the Port of Detroit on a zero-carbon plan, is to move fast. Ports serious about pitching for funding need to get their case in order quickly. Key is establishing your starting point with a baseline emissions inventory and showing community engagement.
If your port has already started on the decarbonization pathway then you could pitch for the zero-emission technology (ZET) grants. The EPA said it intends to fund a handful of mega projects in the $200 million to $500 million range. They will also fund many smaller projects costing at least $10 million.
The EPA has yet to announce a cost-share requirement but is thinking of a 10- to 20-percent non-federal cost share. For ports at the beginning of their emissions journey, the EPA is offering ‘planning application’ grants of up to $3 million. These can be used for creating a baseline emissions inventory mapping out a net zero plan. This will position ports to secure alternative and future green grants from state and federal governments.
Dr. Will Beer
Owner, Tunley Environmental