SailPlan provides ports with real-time air quality monitoring and can develop emissions inventories that are a required part of the Clean Ports Program’s $300 million climate action plan program. 

Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Ports Initiative explained the EPA’s plans for the new Clean Ports Program. The Clean Ports Program is a $3 billion program established by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to fund efforts at ports to develop climate action plans and acquire zero-emission port equipment and technology. As a company that provides real-time air quality monitoring and emissions inventories at ports, SailPlan’s technology offers a competitive edge to help ports win this funding. 

The EPA will award $300 million for ports and other eligible entities to develop Climate Action Plans and give $3 million per grant. As part of this funding opportunity, ports and other eligible entities must develop or update port-wide, terminal-specific, and/or sector-based emissions inventories and conduct core data collection and processing activities or (for more advanced ports) in-depth activity data collection. 

Ports interested in seeking funding for their climate plans should use SailPlan to develop their emissions inventories. SailPlans data is measured rather than calculated and provides accurate data in real-time. Calculated emissions inventories only provide information about emissions over a given time period (usually annually) and can be inaccurate. SailPlan’s technology can help ports understand if the infrastructure is operating inefficiently or which infrastructure has the biggest impact on air quality every minute. Real-time air quality measurements are actionable whereas calculations give a summary of emissions year-to-year. 

The EPA’s Clean Ports Program also has a great emphasis on solving pollution issues in communities near ports. Calculating emissions may be masking harm experienced by communities. Because of delayed reporting under calculated emissions inventories, communities cannot act to prevent potential health issues in the moment. With real-time emissions data, port communities are empowered with accurate data about the air quality in their communities.

Recently, supply chain issues caused excessive ship and truck idling at ports — real-time measurements would have provided communities with the data necessary to measure the impact of these events. Calculations will never reveal the actual impact of these events while they are occurring, outdated sensor technology will not be granular enough to provide insights, and current EPA reporting requirements would delay that information for a given time period

If you are interested in applying for a climate planning grant with SailPlan, reach out to Charlotte Runzel, Head of Government Affairs, at [email protected]

Information about the Clean Ports Program

The Clean Ports Program has two initiatives: the Climate and Air Quality Planning Program and the Zero Emissions (ZE) Technology Deployment Program. Applicants are better suited for Planning grants if they haven’t done any climate planning previously and aren’t ready for technology grants, but applicants can apply for both. The Climate and Air Quality Planning Program will have $300 million in funding with up to $3 million per grant while the Zero Emissions Technology Deployment Program will have $2.6 billion with up to $500 million per grant. Proposals with components that include community engagement, environmental justice, and workforce and labor will be prioritized.

For both programs, eligible recipients include 1) port authorities, 2) state, regional, local, or Tribal agencies with jurisdiction over a port authority or port, 3) air pollution control agencies, and 4) private entities that apply in partnership with one of the three previous entities and own, operate, or use facilities, cargo-handling equipment, transportation equipment, or a related technology of a port. The Program is specifically encouraging large-scale projects, aiming to fund a small number of high-impact projects.

EPA stressed their focus on zero-emissions technologies and related fueling infrastructure operating at ports. The webinar emphasized EPA’s desire to see meaningful community engagement across grant applications, encouraging prospective applicants to begin community engagement work now. The EPA stressed the importance of decarbonization of ports, pointing to improving the lives of near-port communities as a key guiding principle of the Program. 

The release of the funding information and application will be in February of 2024. This application will close May 2024. Applicants will be selected in September 2024 and will be awarded in December 2024.

The components of the two programs are as follows: 

Climate and Air Quality Planning Sub-Program

  1. The EPA outlined five design elements of the Planning Sub-Program, from which applicants can seek funding for some or all of the eligible activities outlined below:
    • Emissions Inventory and Accounting Practices (required): develop or update port-wide, terminal-specific, and/or sector-based inventories and conduct core data collection and processing activities or (for more advanced ports) in-depth activity data collection.
    • Publish Summary Results of Planning Activities (required)
    • Resiliency Measure Identification: assess climate change vulnerabilities and identify priority measures to protect port equipment, energy systems, operations, and nearby communities from climate impacts.
    • Stakeholder Collaboration and Communication, with a Focus on Near-Port Communities: create and support formal process to get input from communities and other stakeholders on climate/air quality planning activities, including by engaging with near-port communities during the project (required), as well as conduct local workforce planning analysis.
    • Strategy Analysis and Goal-Setting: develop or update comprehensive document outlining emissions reduction goals and strategies, assess cost and feasibility of diesel emissions reduction strategies, including in-depth zero-emission technology assessments, and assess emissions reductions from a package of diesel emissions reduction strategies.
  2. Planning sub-program grants will be capped at $2-$3 million per grant. $2 million grants are available to applicants interested in conducting all categories of activities or exploring one or two in depth. Grants exceeding $2 million will be available to applicants with prior experience with climate and air quality planning and managing federal grants. Moreover, those proposals would need to include multiple planning elements, a multi-sector, port-wide scope and/or multiple port areas, and in-depth ZE technology feasibility assessment, and a demonstrated commitment to continue planning efforts beyond the project period. The funding floor per grant will be set at $100,000. Programs will have a duration of up to 3 years.
  3. Grant proposals will not require cost-sharing, but applicants with leveraged funds will be prioritized. However, this will only be a small percentage of the overall score.

Zero Emissions (ZE) Technology Deployment Sub-Program

  1. EPA outlined three design elements of the ZE Technology sub-program:
    • Technology Commercial Readiness: EPA is aiming to fund technology with a few records of implementation, as well technology which has been extensively implemented. They are looking for technology at a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 8 or 9.
    • BABA Guidance/Criteria: EPA is looking for proposals which include domestic production of equipment and infrastructure.
    • Scrappage: EPA plans to award priority points for, but not require, scrappage.
  2. EPA specified that ZE equipment funded by the ZE Technology sub-program must be located on-site, dedicated to port(s), or have a primary purpose of serving port(s). EPA is considering establishing the following annual thresholds for equipment use at port(s): 75-90% of annual hours for cargo-handling equipment, locomotives, and harbor craft and roughly 100 truck visits per year for drayage trucks.
  3. EPA further noted that while ZE fueling infrastructure may be utilized by equipment not purchased as part the grant, it must serve equipment purchased as part of the grant, such that projects proposing only infrastructure without accompanying equipment are ineligible, with the exception of vessel shore power. Moreover, fueling infrastructure must be located at a port, with the exception of infrastructure serving drayage trucks and locomotives.
  4. ZE Technology sub-program proposals will have a general funding floor of $10 million, but a $2 million floor for small water ports and tribal areas. There will be a $500 million funding cap per grant and projects will have a maximum duration of four years.
  5. ZE Technology sub-program proposals must include 10-20% cost sharing, with a potential exception for certain applicants or project types such as tribal lands and drayage trucks.