On June 24, 2022, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the availability of $1.88 million in competitive grants for electric-only projects from public, private and non-profit entities that will reduce diesel emissions from vehicles, engines, and equipment throughout the Commonwealth.

This program, administered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), is funded under the federal Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) and will accelerate the retirement of less-efficient and more-polluting vehicles, engines, and equipment, and replace them with zero-emission vehicles and equipment.

Similar to the DERA grant program, the FORWARD Act, which was filed by Governor Baker in April 2022, seeks to advance the Commonwealth’s implementation of clean energy projects and reduce emissions. Significantly, the legislation proposes to direct $750 million for the clean energy industry, as well as other environmental projects across the Commonwealth.

“Since coming into office, the Baker-Polito Administration has taken an aggressive approach in implementing strategies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and better support the health of our local communities,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card. “DERA funding for increased electrification serves as a great example of our ongoing efforts to foster strong partnerships with key stakeholders in order to reach the Commonwealth’s emissions goals.”

Diesel emissions can result in serious health conditions like asthma and respiratory illnesses, are exacerbating global climate change, and often disproportionally affect environmental justice communities that are already impacted by environmental hazards. This solicitation for electric-only projects will fund the upgrade or replacement of eligible diesel vehicles such as buses, trucks, marine engines, locomotives, and nonroad equipment used in sectors like construction, cargo handling, and agriculture, with zero-emission technologies.

“MassDEP has long promoted the electrification of the transportation sector through its grant programs,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “With this electric-only solicitation, we are signaling that the technology is available, and the expectation is now to adopt the technologies that will most reduce harmful emissions. Many environmental justice communities are exposed to higher-than-average levels of harmful diesel emissions, so we will continue to prioritize spending in these communities, as we move forward with our DERA program.”

Applications for DERA grants must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, August 24, 2022. Eligibility is based on criteria set forth in a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency DERA Program Guide, as well as other criteria, such as proof of operation at least half of the time within Massachusetts. For more information on the DERA grant solicitation, please visit the DERA page on MassDEP’s website.

MassDEP’s mission is to protect and enhance the Commonwealth’s natural resources – air, water and land – to provide for the health, safety and welfare of all people, and a clean and safe environment for future generations. In carrying out this mission, MassDEP commits to address and advance environmental justice and equity for all people of the Commonwealth, provide meaningful, inclusive opportunities for people to participate in agency decisions that affect their lives and ensure a diverse workforce that reflects the communities served by the agency.