Friday, March 31, 2017

The Internet of (billions of smart, connected) things

You have probably heard the phrase "Internet of Things" and, wondered, what exactly is that?  Will it change my life?  Will it make it better?

This article starts to answer those compelling questions.  We like how it places an emphasis on changing the customer experience.  If technology can do that, is it important and historic.

Building a smarter world, though, is not all about better IT.  We live in the real world, not a virtual world.   We need to equally shape better human behavior as well.

Andrew Penn
Andrew Penn

A key to understanding IoT is that it is not a technology revolution, but a customer experience revolution.
It was not so very long ago that Mobile World Congress – the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry in Barcelona – was fairly focused on mobile phones. Not anymore. This year’s MWC was all about the Internet of Things (IoT) and content delivery, and the underpinning 5G network and software that will help make it possible.
The thing about IoT and 5G is that until very recently the hype tended to trump the reality. Again, not any more. Every major network operator at MWC had 4G enabled IoT technology, or technology planned for 5G powering real-world, real-time IoT applications (including our own trial demonstration where IoT data gathered via our new 4G Category M capability was transmitted from Pooley Winery’s in Tasmania and displayed data in Barcelona on things like soil moisture, temperature, rainfall, solar radiation, and wind speed and direction).
Every IoT use case I saw at MWC this year – including the smart, connected cars and trucks; the planes and trains; the houses and businesses, the domestic appliances and even the manhole covers – were an unambiguous reminder that IoT and 5G networks are not so far off in the future anymore. In fact, they are just around the corner. They were also a reminder that the key to understanding IoT is that this is not just a technology revolution, it is a customer experience revolution.
Reality trumps hype
IoT is fundamentally about using information from smart, connected devices running on smart 4G enabled networks today and, in the future, networks with ultra-low latency 5G technology, to enable smart decisions and incredible customer experiences.
Think about all of the electronic devices you use in your life every day—not just the computers and smartphones you use for work and play, but things like the infrastructure around you, the weather and transport systems, appliances, and even your car.
These devices all have the potential to collect information about the patterns and processes in the way you move through and interact with the world. If all these devices are connected and communicating with one another (which they will in an IoT world), imagine the kind of possibilities you could create from the information they collect.
The oft-used domestic appliance example of IoT-enabled fridges or washing machines mean sensors will detect a potential problem before it becomes an issue and relay that information both to you and directly back the manufacturer and the service team.
The service department immediately knows how serious the problem is, what needs to be fixed or replaced, and how that effects your warranty. Further upstream the manufacturer also learns in real-time what parts might not be durable or operating as designed and that helps them create better products as well as keeping their warranty and service costs down. IoT saves time and money but fundamentally it is about creating a better customer experience.
Everything connected
IoT has implications for every business because it forces a complete re-think of just about everything we do. And that is a good thing because it raises all sorts of exciting questions and opportunities to think about how we can create the best possible customer experience. Questions like:
What opportunities are created if we can see and analyse how products are used in real time and what can we do with that knowledge to improve the customer experience?
What are the opportunities created by being able to update or customise products remotely through software upgrades from the cloud?
What if your systems could become autonomous and capable of learning as they are fed data from monitoring and control systems? What could you learn and what could you do with that knowledge in terms of the customer experience?
A thousand other questions come to mind but the point is the internet of billions of smart, connected things creates a whole world of new opportunities to take a fresh look at how technology can deliver undreamt of customer experiences.
Networks  making it possible
At a fundamental level what makes all of this possible is the great convergence between technology and telecommunications. The level of innovation at that point of convergence is without precedent as every market, every experience and even the purpose of objects are completely redefined.
All of this incredible change relies on network connectivity and the step change in bandwidth, latency and reliability that 5G brings; along with cheap and powerful sensors that are emerging today on 4G, that is what makes IoT possible.  
The bandwidth of 5G becomes particularly important in media and content delivery, and this was a major focus at MWC. The huge growth in demand for video means network operators around the world, in collaboration with content owners, are looking at innovative and more efficient ways of getting content like sport and entertainment to customers’ devices.
So much of the investment in network infrastructure for 2G, 3G and 4G was about hardware – the physical towers, cables and associated data centres that makes the magic possible. 5G is the same in one sense – an investment in new hardware is still required – but different in another because equally as important will be the investment in software to create smarter networks that can better manage data traffic while at the same time delivering an improved customer experience.
We are already trialling new technologies to deliver content to our customers’ mobile devices, and at MWC announced a pilot with Ericsson and 20st Century Fox where we are using LTE-B technology to deliver studio quality movies to our customers’ devices at off-peak times to better manage network traffic.
The pilot (and partnership) is an opportunity for us to explore new ways of delivering high quality content to our customers and experiment with using innovative, customer-friendly solutions to achieve network efficiencies.
Game changing 
The cutting edge IoT and 5G technologies on show at Mobile World Congress this year confirmed two related things for me. Firstly that we have reached a point where IoT and 5G are less hype and more reality. Secondly, and far more importantly, that technology might be the driver but the most exciting thing about the super-connected, super-smart future is the customer experiences that it will make possible

The Peoples Climate Movement

Another opportunity for you to advocate for clean air.  One of the aspects of Trump's roll back on pushing higher clean air standards that irritates us most is his insistence on obscuring a common-sense discussion around taking pollutants out of the atmosphere, improving health conditions, with political rhetoric, unsubstantiated, on a very different issue--climate change.

If we simply agree that it makes good sense to do more with less, build a financial quality of life that protects our environment, without sacrificing gains, then we can move ahead without stupid, silly arguments that are, at best, irritating sound bites.

Peoples Climate March

Join Us In D.C.

On April 29 we are calling on everyone to join us for a massive march to bring our demands to the streets of Washington, D.C.
March line-up starts at 11am -- ending between 3-5pm. Sign up below for the march in Washington D.C.
If you can't make to Washington D.C., don't worry! Search for and RSVP to a Sister March near you.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Making Solar Big Enough to Matter

Perspective is everything in life.  Most of us would have said solar is, in fact, big enough to matter after achieving rapid growth.  But this article puts a very different slant on things.  And, the writers are dead on.

Scale is critical.  Impacting our global environment takes, as pointed out here, massive investment.  Solar and other renewables need to become a movement.  Mainstream.  Some day a requirred component to any building or house.

Similarly, we need to construct multiple utility-scale sites across many states.  That on top of applying solar in hundreds of small scale applications--all the way down to body warmers in coats--will saturate the market.  And capture enough of the sun to power many aspects of our lives.

Making Solar Big Enough to Matter

Solar energy has become big business. Over the past decade it has plummeted in cost, surged in volume, and, as booming industries do, benefited some investors and burned others. The International Energy Agency has predicted photovoltaic solar could provide up to 16 percent of the world’s electricity by mid century — an enormous increase from the roughly 1 percent that solar generates today. But for solar to realize its potential, governments will have to grow up too. They’ll need to overhaul their solar policies to make them ruthlessly economically efficient.

The widespread view that solar power is a hopelessly subsidized business is quickly growing outdated. In some particularly sunny spots, such as certain parts of the Middle East, solar power now is beating fossil-fueled electricity on price without subsidies.

Even where — as in the United States — solar needs subsidies, it’s getting cheaper. American utilities now are signing 20-year agreements to buy solar power at, and in some cases below, 5 cents per kilowatt-hour. Those prices, which reflect tax breaks, are in some instances low enough to compete with electricity from power plants that burn plentiful American natural gas. Solar will be all the more competitive if gas prices rise — something many predict — and as more governments impose prices on carbon dioxide emissions.

The market is concluding that solar makes sense. In part that’s because of technological advances that have made solar cells more efficient in converting sunlight into power. In part it’s the result of manufacturing scale, which has slashed the cost of solar-panel production. And, in places that tax greenhouse-gas emissions, it’s in part because solar produces carbon-free power.

But much more needs to be done. Ratcheting up solar to produce approximately 1 percent of global electricity has required a lot of technology and investment. Making solar big enough to matter environmentally would be an even more colossal undertaking. It would require plastering the ground and roofs with billions of solar panels. It would require significantly increasing energy storage, because solar panels crank out electricity only when the sun shines, which is why, today, solar often needs to be backed up by fossil fuels. And it would require adding more transmission lines, because often the places where the sun shines best aren’t where most people live.

The scale of this challenge makes economic efficiency crucial, as we argue in a report, “The New Solar System,” released on Tuesday. The policies that have goosed solar have been often unsustainable and sometimes contradictory. One glaring example: With one hand, the United States is trying to make solar cheaper, through tax breaks, and with the other hand it’s making solar more expensive, through tariffs it has imposed on solar products imported from China, the world’s largest maker and installer of solar panels.

The tariffs are prompting Chinese solar manufacturers to set up factories not in the United States, but in low-cost countries that aren’t subject to the levies. And the Chinese government has responded with its own tariffs against American-made solar goods. Those tariffs have eroded the United States share in the one part of solar manufacturing — polysilicon, the raw material for solar cells — in which America once had a significant role.

That solar is now involved in a trade war is a sign of how far it has come. The United States developed the first solar cells in the 1950s and put them into space in the 1960s. Japan and Germany began putting big numbers of solar panels on rooftops in the 1990s. But solar power didn’t really advance into a real industry until a decade ago, when China stepped in.

In the mid-2000s, stimulated by hefty solar subsidies in Europe, a handful of entrepreneurs in China started producing inexpensive solar panels, much as had been done in China before with T-shirts and televisions. These entrepreneurs bought equipment from manufacturers in Europe and the United States, built big factories with government subsidies, and got down to business cranking out millions of solar panels for export.

Today, China utterly dominates global solar-panel manufacturing. Last year, according to the consulting firm IHS Markit, China accounted for 70 percent of global capacity for manufacturing crystalline-silicon solar panels, the most common type. The United States share was 1 percent.

But now, China’s solar industry is changing in little-noticed ways that create both an imperative and an opportunity for the United States to up its game. The Chinese industry is innovating technologically — indeed, it’s starting to score world-record solar-cell efficiency — contrary to a long-held myth that all China can do is manufacture others’ inventions cheaply. It’s expanding its manufacturing footprint across the globe. And it’s scrambling to import more efficient ways of financing solar power that have been pioneered in the West. The United States needs to take these shifts into account in defining an American solar strategy that minimizes the cost of solar power to the world while maximizing the long-term benefit to the American economy.

A more-enlightened United States policy approach to solar would seek above all to continue slashing solar power’s costs — not to prop up types of American solar manufacturing that can’t compete globally. It would leverage, not aim to bury, China’s manufacturing superiority, with closer cooperation on solar research and development. And it would focus American solar subsidies more on research and development and deployment than on manufacturing. As solar manufacturing continues to automate, reducing China’s cheap-labor advantage, it is likely to make more sense in the United States, at least for certain sorts of solar products.

The United States needs to play to its comparative advantages in the solar sector. That requires a sober assessment of what China does well. There are real tensions between China and the United States, including the tariff fight, doubts about the protection of intellectual property in China, and national-security concerns. But it’s time to put those concerns into perspective, as investors, corporations and governments try to do every day.

These proposed shifts in American solar policy will upset partisans across the political spectrum. They will offend liberals who have promised that solar-manufacturing subsidies would bring the United States huge numbers of green factory jobs. They will rankle conservatives who see China as the enemy. How will the Trump administration view them? That’s unclear.

President Trump has spoken approvingly of tariffs against China; as a presidential candidate, he criticized “China’s unfair subsidy behavior.” Yet his nominee to be ambassador to China, Gov. Terry Branstad of Iowa, has called the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, a friend and said a “cooperative relationship” between the two countries “is needed more now than ever.”

Mr. Trump argued in his 2015 book, “Crippled America” (since retitled “Great Again”), that solar panels didn’t “make economic sense.” But he also wrote that, when solar energy “proves to be affordable and reliable in providing a substantial percent of our energy needs, then maybe it’ll be worth discussing.”

That time has arrived. A smarter solar policy — one with a more-nuanced view of China — is something the new president ought to like.

Solar isn’t just for the granola crowd anymore. It’s a global industry, and it’s poised to make a real environmental difference. Whether it delivers on that promise will depend on policy makers prodding it to become more economically efficient. That will require a shift both from those who have loved solar and from those who have laughed it off.

Good News for California: New Data Shows Electric Vehicle Sales in Northeast States Are Rising Fast/Huffington Post

This is not just good news for CA.  Given their typical leadership position in green, we believe they can ignite a firestorm of hybrid and EV sales.  

Why would these cars work well only in CA.  Sure, they have some advantages, including additional state tax credits and a good infrastructure for charging.  And, yes, Tesla is based there.   But gas-fired cars sold quickly outside of Detroit.   Why would EV sales have state borders around their success?

Send a message today!

These states include Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Oregon. These new figures are from a Northeast States Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) analysis of data from IHS Polk.

What these numbers show is that consumer EV rebates in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and Rhode Island are starting to pay off. New consumer rebates, launched just this week in New York and proposed in Maryland, will enable Northeast drivers to electrify even faster and further. And it’s not just rebates. Many states and cities provide grants to businesses, cities, and universities to install charging stations and incorporate EVs into their city vehicle fleets.

The timing of this new data released is perfect. The California Air Resources Board (CARB), which has been conducting a mid-term review of its 10-state ZEV program, is holding a hearing to conclude this review today. The ZEV program requires automakers to sell increasing numbers of EVs in the participating states. CARB board members, who do not want to shoulder the full ZEV program in only California and who are aware that EV sales are disproportionately in the Golden state, will hear the message loud and clear that it’s not just California that is committed to accelerating the ZEV market, but leaders and residents in Northwest and the Northeast as well. In fact, more than 100 mayors and other local elected officials from these regions signed letters being presented to CARB board members on Friday stating their commitment to a future with electrified transportation and their need for a strong multi-state ZEV program.

 These mayors include those from Bridgeport and New Haven, Connecticut; New Bedford and Somerville, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; Albany and Ithaca, New York; Providence, Rhode Island; Portland, Oregon; College Park, Maryland; and many more.

The President of the Boston City Council Michelle Wu said this about why she signed the letter: “The transportation sector fuels 40% of Massachusetts greenhouse gas pollution. This isn’t only problematic for our climate, but for our health too, exacerbating asthma in our children and families. California’s Zero Emission Vehicle standards are helping accelerate clean electric vehicle use and decrease harmful air pollution in the Commonwealth. For the health and safety of our communities, we must keep these standards strong.”

Sierra Club, Environment America, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Plug In America will present these sign on letters at the CARB hearing as well as other letters with a similar message signed by state legislators and leaders in science and the health professions. They will also present petition signatures, signed by more than 10,000 Californians, urging CARB to keep the ZEV regulations strong.

Along with leaders from public interest groups, officials from Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Northwest states are also traveling to California to testify at the CARB hearing. In fact, this week environmental agency directors from the Republican and Democratic-run states of Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, and Vermont sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt urging him to maintain strong federal light duty vehicle regulations and to “leave intact” the authority of California and the other states to create their own stronger vehicle standards. The letter says, “Our states continue to have broad bipartisan support for the authority Congress granted [our states] adopt and enforce California standards that are more protective of public health and welfare.”

Meanwhile, automakers say that they are doing everything they can to meet the ZEV regulations, but complain that consumers just don’t want EVs, especially outside of California. We know that to be false. When Sierra Club conducted our Rev Up EVs survey of the consumer EV shopping experience in the 10 ZEV states last year, we found that, despite consumer enthusiasm, automakers and auto dealers are often failing to provide EV inventory, salesperson training, or accurate information about EVs on dealership lots. Some automakers and dealers are excelling in selling EVs. However, frequently, the industry fails to provide information about the thousands of dollars consumers can save from EV rebates, tax credits, and fuel savings, and many dealerships even fail to charge the vehicles and make them available for test drives. A subsequent report showed that automakers are barely bothering to advertise EVs, especially outside of California.

And yet, EV sales in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Northwest are starting to ramp up (despite low gas prices). As a happy EV driver from the Boston area, I’m experiencing this trend first-hand. For the protection of our climate and air quality, and for the ZEV state ability to require automakers to sell us cleaner cars, we owe a great debt to CARB for a strong ZEV program. We’ll continue to be with California as we grow the EV market further and faster in the ZEV states and eventually nationwide.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Trump Declares WAR on GREEN and starts to dismantle our booming green economy Renewable Now

This is the editorial we posted today.  We welcome your comments.

If anyone had any reservation that President Trump would soften his stance on Climate Change, or begin to embrace the business opportunities of clean energy, well you can lay those reservations to rest. Yesterday Trump signed an Executive Order that will begin to dismantle some of the most important environmental gains over the last decade. This Executive Order is an incentive and a gift to polluters and the oil and gas industries and is undoubtedly meant to tear apart the Clean Air Act. This order, for us at RNN, tells us that Trump is pushing polluter’s profits at the expenses of Americans’ health. 

And, you ask yourself, why?  When the US leapfrogs to new technology--horse and buggy to combustion engine, candles to light bulbs, wired to wireless--do we ever turn back to what is old and antiquated?  Of course not.  Here we are speeding through the clean energy economy, with amazing results and ROI's, right into the digital economy.  We are quickly re balancing environmental protection with job creation and financial prosperity.   Recognizing our past mistakes on stripping away our eco-capital, we are reversing and working again to build natural assets.  Accepting, even begrudgingly,  that there can be no commercial system without support from natural resources.

This fight has lead us to what?  Innovation, clean tech, smart grids, smart city technology, a start up boom, historic global collaboration, amazing new companies, the birth of whole new industries and a reversal to bring both food and energy production local.  What is the cheapest form of energy coming on to the grid today?  Renewables.  What is the fastest growing segment of our investment portfolios---impact investing funds.  What are the best products made today?  Those that are efficient, smart, high on reuse to cut costs and fully embracing new tech.  Does burning oil and gas embrace new tech?  Does it put us in a worldwide leadership position?  Does it become a beacon of good public policy for others to follow?

On the pure ecological side, we don’t know if Trump has seen what is happening in other countries such as India and China. Back in January 2017, it was reported by Australian News outlet ABC, "That China had been covered in a thick toxic smog. It is one of the worst episodes of air pollution the country has seen, affecting 460 million people.

Coal is the major cause and will continue to be the country's biggest source of energy and air pollution. Although billions have been pledged for renewable energy, 200 new coal power plants will be built across the country."

The air quality in China is so bad that they have actually begun to important clean air in cans from Canada which we reported on back in November 2016.

There are hundreds of these similar reports coming out from couturiers around the world where people are suffering similar to what the people of China are experiencing.   When you over produce, fail to protect your quality of life, race to pure profits at the expense of a community of any size, you lose the battle.  You gain short term and sell your soul, and body, to the devil.  As with life and faith, greed, selfishness, a failure to care about anything but your own warped view of success ends in a meltdown of epic proportions.

Of course at Renewable Now we care very much about jobs.  About energy independence.  About balance.  We care about the jobs in fossil fuel.  In those places we can extract, burn, consume with adequate protection of people and nature, we endorse their use.  The Clean Air Act was designed to lead us, with bridge fuels, including natural gas, to, what we hoped, would be a day of 100% clean, renewable energy.  Produced not just within a county--but keeping production in states, local, keeping that revenue and jobs in our backyard.  Cutting long transportation and waste.  Insuring resilience for each and every city and town.

Trump bills himself as a business genius.  Has he calculated the cost of the health ramifications from embracing fossil fuels back to the public? Maybe he has, and maybe he just doesn’t care because this WAR on GREEN for him is personal, he feel he’s got something to prove and while he’s doing it we’ll all pay the price.  And if he is wrong, have we lost, forever, all that we have gained?  Have we stepped back in time and permanently crippled our chance to build a clean, healthy future?

Despite Trump Move on Climate Change, Utilities’ Shift From Coal Is Set to Continue/Wall ST Journal

This is good news.  Great news. And exactly what we expect given the best value KW's being put on our grids today are from renewables, and the gap is widening between clean energy and fossil fuel sources.

In life why go backwards?  Our world is now fully, happily invested in the clean energy economy. That is leading us to a great promise of digital economy.  Fossil fuel was great in powering the industrial revolution.  It can be part of the mix today, a bridge to 100% local, regional renewable sources.  But turning back to coal--what world does Trump live in?

Certainly not the one we want to live in.  

Curbs on carbon emissions may be eased, but companies are sticking with plans to invest in power from gas, wind and solar

The Trump administration’s expected move to roll back President Obama’s signature climate-change policy may extend the life of some aging coal-fired power plants, but companies and energy experts say it is unlikely to reverse the U.S. utility industry’s shift to natural gas, solar and wind as leading sources of electricity....
Find the rest at Wall Street Journal

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Behind the Quiet State-by-State Fight Over Electric Vehicles

Do you drive an EV?  If so you know how quiet it runs.  Stealth.  The sounds of silence.

Why is there a "quiet state-by-state fight" to eliminate credits on these clean cars?  Have our general needs changed around reducing air pollution levels?  Is there something now inherently wrong with building efficient cars?  Do we want to throw out all the new technology around hybrids and EV's and go back to the old ways of making cars?

Sure, if we are complete fools.  If we want to cut off new, successful companies like Tesla at the knees.  If states are so fixated on short term policies versus good future planning.  Sure, let's shut off all the promise of a cleaner, brighter future to make car co's rich and happy, and put everyone in gas-guzzling SUV's.

Behind the Quiet State-by-State Fight Over Electric Vehicles

When Georgia repealed its generous $5,000 tax credit on electric vehicles in July 2015, and instead slapped a $200 registration fee on electric cars, sales quickly tumbled.
In the month before the repeal, nearly 1,300 electric vehicles were sold in the state. By August, those sales had all but evaporated — to just 97 cars.

It was a hint of what would come.

Today, the economic incentives that have helped electric vehicles gain a toehold in America are under attack, state by state. In some states, there is a move to repeal tax credits for battery-powered vehicles or to let them expire. And in at least nine states, including liberal-leaning ones like Illinois and conservative-leaning ones like Indiana, lawmakers have introduced bills that would levy new fees on those who own electric cars.

The state actions could put the business of electric vehicles, already rocky, on even more precarious footing. That is particularly true as gas prices stay low, and as the Trump administration appears set to give the nascent market much less of a hand.

In coming days, the Trump administration is widely expected to roll back stringent federal regulations on vehicle emissions, one of the biggest environmental legacies of President Barack Obama. The changes would give American carmakers less incentive to produce more battery-powered cars. There are also concerns among advocates of electric cars over the fate of a $7,500 federal tax credit on the vehicles, a major catalyst for sales.

But while the battle in Washington gets much of the attention, the most direct attack against electric vehicles, and in some cases hybrid vehicles, is quietly being waged at the state level.

In Colorado, a bill that would end income tax credits for owners of electric and alternative-fuel vehicles is working its way through the legislature. In Utah, lawmakers voted this month against extending the state’s tax credit for electric cars.

The measure in Colorado has been backed publicly by Americans for Prosperity, an advocacy group founded by the conservative billionaire brothers David H. and Charles G. Koch, whose wealth is founded on their petrochemicals empire.

A handful of other states, including Illinois, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, have already let their incentives expire. That has brought down to 16 the number of states that offer financial support for buyers of electric vehicles. That number once approached 25.
“It’s baffling,” said Matt Jones, a Democratic state senator in Colorado, who opposes the move to repeal the tax credit. “It’s very counterproductive.”

It is unclear how many of these measures will pass. In Colorado, for example, support for clean vehicles has long enjoyed bipartisan support. Still, the backward slide in incentives “is going to be a big issue and crash this market further,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director for industry analysis at

Even with the incentives, overall sales of electric vehicles are only about 1 percent of the American market. To start making a real dent in the market, Ms. Caldwell said, “electric vehicles still need to be subsidized for a significant amount of time.”

A slowdown in the country’s shift toward battery-powered vehicles could leave the American auto market a global laggard, electric vehicle proponents warn. They say a similar situation played out a couple of decades ago, when American car companies stayed away from small cars, leaving a big opening for Japanese companies.

Sales of electric vehicles are estimated to have jumped more than 70 percent last year in China, which now has the world’s biggest market for electric cars, with about 630,000 units on the road. Canada, France and Sweden each had growth in electric vehicle sales of 50 to 70 percent in 2016, compared with the year before, according to EV Sales, which tracks global sales numbers.

A slower transition could also have big consequences for the United States’ carbon emissions.

Transportation now regularly emits more earth-warming gases into the atmosphere than any other sector, according to the federal Energy Information Administration. Last year, it overtook the electric power sector for the first time since the late 1970s.

That makes switching to cleaner vehicles imperative in further reducing America’s carbon footprint, environmentalists say.

“Instead of buying fuel from halfway round the world, you’re plugging in and maybe you’re producing the electricity on your roof with solar,” said Joel Levin, executive director of Plug In America, a nonprofit organization that promotes electric cars.

“It’s not just about the environment,” Mr. Levin said. “These vehicles are also about being a leader in this new technology that everyone agrees is coming. If the U.S. isn’t a leader in this technology, we’ll be buying them from someone else.”

Advances in battery technology, both in quality and price, have allowed companies to bring more affordable battery-powered cars to market.

General Motors’ Bolt EV has a 238-mile range for less than $30,000, after the $7,500 federal income tax credit. Tesla plans to introduce the Model 3, a 215-mile-range car, for under $30,000 after federal tax credits.

For these lower-cost models, which seek to attract buyers beyond the comfortably wealthy, those incentives are critical to sales. But each automaker has a 200,000-vehicle allotment for the federal tax credits, a limit that Tesla and GM will reach by 2018, according to some estimates. It is unclear whether that limit will be extended, making the state credits even more important.

Laura Toole, General Motors spokeswoman, said that incentives were “still necessary to help build the E.V. market to greater volumes.”

A Tesla spokesman declined to comment. But its chief executive, Elon Musk, has said that he supports getting rid of incentives, but only if other subsidies are repealed, including support for fossil fuel industries.

The uncertainties mean global forecasts for the global electric vehicle market are all over the map. But one particularly bold study, released last month by the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London and the Carbon Tracker Initiative, predicts rapid growth in electric vehicles to make up 35 percent of the road transport market worldwide by 2035.

Electric vehicles alone could reduce oil demand by two million barrels a day by 2025, the study forecasts. That would be about the same dip that caused the oil price collapse in 2014 and 2015.

(Other projections are decidedly less gung-ho in their projections. The International Energy Agency, for example, expects oil demand to rise into the 2040s unless there is decisive global action to curb fossil fuel use.)

In general, though, the projections underscore the threat that electric vehicles pose to the oil and gas industries — and those with big investments in those areas — and those who back a rapid shift away.

The bill in Colorado, which would end income tax credits of up to $5,000 for buyers of electric cars and as much as $20,000 for commercial trucks, cleared its first barrier in a senate committee Feb. 28.
The bill, which shifts the money for the tax credits toward fixing Colorado’s infrastructure, is supported by the Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity, as well as the Independence Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Denver that has been financed by coal, oil and gas companies.

They argue that the government should not be choosing between technologies or companies. They also argue that electric vehicle owners tend to be wealthy and do not need financial help.

State funds should be used for roads and bridges “instead of giving millions of dollars annually to rich guys,” Amy Cooke, director of the Energy Policy Center at the Independence Institute, wrote in a blog post.

In testimony before Colorado lawmakers, Rudy Zitti, deputy state director at Americans for Prosperity, said, “By allowing these subsidies to continue, you are unfairly choosing to use our tax dollars to benefit a finite group of individuals and corporate interests.”

Georgia offers an example of how some of these arguments played out. For a few years, attempts to repeal that state’s electric vehicle incentive, first introduced in the late 1990s, went nowhere. Then in 2015, the repeal was rolled into a larger transportation bill, which promised freshly paved roads and shored-up bridges.

The bill passed, together with the repeal, with little debate on the incentive itself; amid a budget shortfall, legislators were more interested in securing money for infrastructure projects.

In a close vote, also Feb. 28, Utah’s House of Representatives voted against extending the state’s tax credit for electric vehicles after legislators there argued that those credits cost too much.

The $1,500 credit for buyers of long-range electric vehicles “does not make sense economically to me,” Scott Sandall, a Republican representative, argued. A bill to extend that credit for five more years failed by one vote in the chamber.

A Tesla Model S P100D. Credit Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Kevin Emerson of Utah Clean Energy called the defeat disappointing. “If we don’t reinstate it, it sends a message that Utah is no longer open to business for E.V.s.,” he said. “This is so important for Utah. We’d seen it as important in the long term.”

Several other states have imposed new registration fees on electric vehicles. Lawmakers pushing for the fees say that because owners of battery-powered cars do not pay gasoline taxes, they should help pay for infrastructure in some way.

Since 2011, 10 states have adopted special fees of up to $200 a year for electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid owners. At least nine more states are considering similar charges.

In Indiana, a bill that would establish a $150 annual fee for electric vehicle owners was introduced in January. A similar bill has been presented in Kansas, also for a $150 fee, and Montana is debating a $300 fee. Even California is looking at imposing a $165 yearly car registration fee on zero-emissions vehicles.

Despite the setbacks, a broad coalition between environmentalists, electric vehicle manufacturers and some electrical utilities has redoubled efforts to keep the electric car momentum going.

This month, for example, the local utility Xcel Energy announced that it was teaming with Nissan to offer up $10,000 incentives on the automaker’s Leaf battery-powered car for Colorado residents.

Nissan said that the incentive programs are “instrumental” to building acceptance among American drivers.

And California’s Zero Emission Vehicle Program, which will soon require automakers to sell electric vehicles in nine other states that have adopted California’s own stringent emissions rules, could also keep states on course. Environmentalists worry, however, that the Trump administration could challenge California’s unique authority to set pollution targets.

Some states are bolstering their support for electric vehicles. In a long-awaited move, buyers of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in New York are set to receive a $2,000 rebate.
“We’re very excited to see this kind of rebate launched in New York,” said Gina Coplon-Newfield, who directs the electric vehicle program at the Sierra Club.

She said the steady growth in electric vehicle sales despite lower gas prices, and the proliferation of electric and plug-in models now available, showed both consumer and industry interest in the technology.

“Are we worried about what the federal government will likely try to do? Yes,” she said. “And we’re concerned that many similar bills are coming out in many states at the same time.”
She added: “But do we think that’s going to kill electric vehicles? Absolutely not.”
Still, electric vehicle owners in states pulling back on incentives are left in the lurch.
Alfred Richner, a financial services worker in Atlanta, vowed to go electric over a decade ago, when oil prices in the city spiked after Hurricane Katrina.

“In 2005, I promised myself my next car would not use gas,” he said.

It took seven more years for Mr. Richner to find an electric car he was happy with — a new 2012 Nissan Leaf. And he got a great deal — $26,000 before sales tax — from a local dealer desperate to get rid of the car, he said.

With the federal and state subsidies, he paid $15,500 out of pocket.
“It was solid, it was comfortable, it was futuristic,” Mr. Richner said. “And the dealer was willing to negotiate, because he couldn’t sell it. And then the dealer said Georgia had a $5,000 tax credit. I couldn’t believe it.”

A year later, he bought Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV electric car for his wife, again using federal and state incentives. (But his wife, who declared the Mitsubishi car ugly, now drives the Leaf, leaving him to make his 52-mile round-trip daily commute in the i-MiEV.)
He had planned to upgrade his Nissan Leaf in 2015. But that plan was foiled when he couldn’t track one down in Georgia before the tax credit expired.
“It’s a great car,” he said. “I guess by then, everyone wanted it. And then it all stopped.”