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Leader & Laggard of the Week: Austin & Texas

It’s ironic — this week’s Cleantech Leader of the Week is the capital city of this week’s Cleantech Laggard of the Week. The city of Austin, and specifically its public transportation agency, made one of the most exciting EV announcements of the past year, while the state of Texas went out there and pushed to the finish line one of the worst EV policies I’ve seen in ages. As they say over there, “Keep Austin weird.” Perhaps more appropriate would be “Keep Austin awesome and slap some sense into Texas.”

I’m giving Austin the award for CleanTech Leader of the Week because CapMetro, Austin’s regional public transportation provider, has come out and announced a huge cleantech project that goes above and beyond what I’ve seen before. Furthermore, it’s a project that could inspire other big projects along the same lines.

First of all, back in 2021, CapMetro announced it was buying 200 electric buses from Proterra and New Flyer. The news this past week is that those electric buses will be charged from solar power produced by a massive solar canopy. Partnering with BP Pulse and HOLT Renewables, CapMetro is plopping down $34 million for this solar canopy. It’s brilliant, and we only wish to see more such projects.

The project will include 7,000 solar panels spanning 12 acres. Read more about it here.

Now, though, on to the laggard of the week. …

You probably know what that’s about. This is a simple one. The Texas legislature has decided that electric vehicle owners should pay $200 a year as an extra tax or fee for not using gasoline. With the legislature led by Republicans and the bill moving on to Republican Governor Greg Abbott, don’t expect any course correction here. So much for the idea that Tesla moving its HQ to Texas and building a ginormous factory there would positively influence Texas state politicians on the matter of EVs.

Condolences to our Texas readers. If it makes you feel any better, you can read my longer rant about this news here.

Photos: Texas flag by Janet Reddick from Pixabay and by Kim Broomhall from Pixabay

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Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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