Louisiana Clean Fuels 2020 Year in Review

    The last year has been a challenging one, at best. We had originally planned to celebrate our 20th Anniversary all year long with fun and innovative networking events that highlighted the accomplishments of our stakeholders. Then in March, just days after our Clean Fuels Classic, the COVID-19 pandemic forced us all to shift our priorities and adapt. But amidst the chaos, 2020 brought new lessons and experiences, many of which have given us the tools and skills to improve and grow with the coming year. So it is with renewed hope for the future that we look back over our many experiences and accomplishments of the last year.

    First-Ever Clean Fuels Classic Golf Tournament

    On March 13, 2020, LCF held our inaugural Clean Fuels Classic golf tournament. Stakeholders and guests gathered for drinks, lunch, and a fun time at Pelican Point Golf & Country Club in Gonzales, LA, playing for various prizes, including the chance to drive home in an all-electric Jaguar I-PACE from presenting sponsor Paretti Family of Dealerships. Players participated in a scramble-style tournament, enjoying excellent on-course food and Bloody Marys provided by our sponsors. The day ended with an awards ceremony sponsored by ROUSH CleanTech, during which LCF raffled off fun prizes for attendees to win. The tournament kicked off LCF’s yearlong celebration of our 20th anniversary, and it was also our last in-person event before Louisiana’s stay-at-home orders shut down the state on March 16th. The course at Pelican Point was a hit with all of our golfers and we are proud to announce that the second Clean Fuels Classic will be held on October 11, 2021.

    LCF 20th Anniversary

    In April 2000, Louisiana Clean Fuels - then known as the Greater Baton Rouge Clean Cities Coalition - was designated as a Department of Energy Clean Cities Coalition. In celebration of our 20th anniversary, LCF planned for 2020 to be a year of exciting alternative fuel events, educational outreach, and promotion, but everything changed when the pandemic struck. Despite this significant roadblock, we managed to pivot our anniversary plans and work toward a year that was both safe and celebratory. Throughout the latter half of the summer, our Executive Director worked with a film crew to produce promotional videos and a PSA for the coalition. They interviewed alternative fuel stakeholders from across the state and local leaders to show off LCF’s myriad alternative fuel and emissions reduction contributions in Louisiana over the past two decades.

    Clean Fuel Leader Awards & Virtual Gala

    November saw the culmination of LCF’s anniversary celebration with our annual Clean Fuel Leader Awards at a 20th Anniversary Gala sponsored by the Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO). A small group of award winners and representatives gathered for a masked and distanced ceremony at The Estuary at the Water Campus in Baton Rouge. Republic Services took home the highest award, Clean Fuel Champion, for the third year in a row for their continued hard work toward reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. LCF awarded the second-ever Katry Martin Award to Scott Barrios of Entergy for “his enthusiasm, thirst for knowledge, and unlimited energy [which] he puts toward helping to pave the way for clean fuels for Louisiana, especially electric technologies.” Awards were also presented to Capital Area Transit System (CATS), Fuels Fix, United Parcel Service (UPS), and the City of Lake Charles, among others. Sponsored by Atmos Energy, the event also featured recorded performances by Louisiana singer, songwriter, and fiddler Amanda Shaw and a special supportive message from Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. A recording of the event premiered on our YouTube channel the following evening to more than 100 virtual viewers. LCF was delighted to recognize these amazing fleets for their invaluable work towards a cleaner, more sustainable future for transportation in Louisiana.

    Alternative Fuel Corridors

    Towards the end of 2019, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality applied for Alternative Fuel Corridor designation for several sections of highway in Louisiana to be recognized as EV charging corridors. Utilizing our DC Fast Charging Master Plan, LCF worked with LDEQ throughout 2019 to help the department decide on the most beneficial locations for DC Fast Chargers in the state with the goal of spurring the creation of our interstate EV charging network. In July 2020, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) officially designated a section of I-10 as “corridor-ready” for EV charging, with another section of I-10 and a section of I-12 marked “corridor-pending.” We anticipate that the remaining VW Settlement awards will result in our state having nearly complete electric vehicle corridors on I-10, I-20 and I-49.

    Webinar Wednesdays

    With the onset of the pandemic and its accompanying regulations in Louisiana, we had to pivot our outreach plans for the year from in-person to virtual. Thus, LCF’s Webinar Wednesdays series was born, an educational webinar series dedicated to providing information about alternative fuels to various audiences. Alternative fuel experts, fleets, and Clean Cities personnel gathered virtually to present on such topics as First Steps for Fleets Interested in EVs, Preparing Utilities for EVs, Work Trucks Market Watch, and Pro Tips for CNG Fleets. This webinar series saw over 450 attendees and has accrued over 200 views on our YouTube channel, and continues to serve as a convenient way for viewers to learn more about alternative energy in the transportation sector.

    Executive Director appointed to Climate Task Force Transportation Committee & Awarded Benjamin Watson Leadership Award

    Throughout 2020, LCF’s staff worked diligently to cope with the pandemic while we continued our normal outreach and fleet support. Amidst all of this hard work, our Executive Director, Ann Vail, received recognition for her efforts to go above and beyond in the name of Clean Cities. In August, Ann was presented the Benjamin Watson Leadership Award by the Clean Cities Coordinator Council, an award given once a year in honor of a long-time coordinator who enriched the Clean Cities community with their spirit and engaging personality. “Ann Vail’s inspirational energy, passion, and skill at overcoming challenges led her fellow Clean Cities coordinators to select her for the Benjamin Watson Inspirational Award, which recognizes coordinators who embody the heart and attitude of Benjamin Watson,” said a Clean Cities press release. Ann, who is also a member of the Clean Cities Hall of Fame, was delighted to be honored by her peers in appreciation of her efforts to promote the mission of Clean Cities and assist fellow coalitions in their clean fuel efforts. That same month, Ann was also appointed to the Transportation Committee of the Louisiana Climate Initiatives Task Force established by Governor John Bel Edwards. The primary objectives of this committee will be to reduce emissions specifically in the transportation sector, maintain the viability of transportation providers, and increase access to reliable, efficient, and affordable transportation options. Ann is incredibly excited and grateful for the opportunity to have a larger role in moving Louisiana toward a climate-positive future.

    While 2020 certainly provided a myriad of challenges for us as a coalition, it took a lot of work and dedication from LCF staff to achieve our goals and maximize our potential. The year was an excellent time for us to revise our online platforms and improve our virtual content as we worked from our separate home desks and held meetings via Zoom. Though it wasn’t the yearlong celebration we initially hoped for, we made the best of 2020 and our 20th Anniversary, keeping safe while still recognizing our two decades of clean fuel achievements. This pandemic may not be ending anytime soon, but LCF is ready to spring right into 2021 and continue our dedication to serving our fleets and promoting clean air and fuels for our state.

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