President Joe Biden's administration on June 28 announced $18.5 million in funding awards to four states and 20 local governments, including the city of San Antonio, to help support community initiatives meant to improve energy efficiency, reduce climate pollution and lower overall energy use.

Two-minute impact

According to a news release, the new federal funding for local clean energy projects comes through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program and is supported by Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Federal officials said the city of San Antonio’s office of sustainability will use the $1.22 million to launch three initiatives for promoting energy-efficient transportation citywide.

First, the city will provide $1,000 point-of-sale rebates to 170 low-income residents to buy electric bicycles at local bike stores. Second, the local funds will help develop an energy master plan for the San Antonio International Airport.

Finally, San Antonio’s housing authority, Opportunity Home, will install electric vehicle chargers at six multifamily buildings in disadvantaged communities, increasing equitable access to electric vehicles, the release states.

A closer look

City officials said the airport energy master plan will guide them on a path toward enhancing energy reliability, resilience and efficiency at the north side facility, which is undergoing a multiyear expansion and improvement project.

Local officials added this comprehensive plan will result in significant cost savings, and will reduce the airport's carbon footprint via upgraded air quality and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

According to city representatives, the multifamily electric vehicle charging incentive program will enhance air quality, decrease carbon emissions, promote sustainable transportation and increase access to charging infrastructure in the city’s underserved communities.

Additionally, city officials said the low-income e-bike rebate pilot program will empower Opportunity Home residents by offering point-of-sale vouchers on Class 1, 2, and 3 e-bikes. The class numbers vary depending on the maximum speed provided on that bike.

“Through this e-bike incentive pilot program, we will provide approximately 171 Opportunity Home residents a sustainable and cost-effective mobility option for their commute to work, school or to pickup groceries,” said Doug Melnick, the city's chief sustainability officer, in a statement.