Americas: IoT Public Policy Index

  • July 21, 2024
  • Michael Nadeau

U.S. DOE defines zero-emissions buildings. Brazil classifies EVs as “sin tax” eligible. Canada issues RFP for EV chargers. U.S. FAA releases guidance for Remote ID for drone operators. Markham, Canada, to invest in smart energy tech. Nova Scotia city to fund smart grid improvements. British Columbia approves new type of EV charging rate.

U.S. Department of Energy defines zero-emission buildings

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released a National Definition of a Zero Emissions Building document to advance public and private sector efforts to decarbonize the buildings sector. The definition serves as guidance as new and existing commercial and residential buildings move toward zero emissions to cut energy costs and meet President Biden’s climate goals.

The government stated that this standardized definition will help advance next-generation clean energy solutions, drive innovation, tackle the climate crisis, and support workforce development. Major technical advances in energy efficiency, heat pumps, and clean energy were cited as means to make new and existing buildings achieve zero emissions.

Link to document: National Definition of a Zero Emissions Building

Brazil imposes “sin tax” on EVs

Recent tax reform legislation in Brazil has categorized electric vehicles (EVs) as among products and services considered harmful, and therefore subject to a “sin tax.” This puts EVs in the same class as cigarettes and e.gambling. The VAT rate is expected to be 26.5 percent. The government based its decision on claims that EV batteries are harmful to the environment once they reach their end of life. The goal of creating these “sin taxes” is to lower the VAT on other, more essential goods. Oddly, the Brazilian government also offers an incentive to buy EVs under a green energy initiative that this tax appears to negate.

Link to legislation: Brazilian Tax Reform: Complementary Bill of Law No. 68/2024

Canada issues RFP for EV chargers across the country

Canada’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, John Wilkinson, has launched a request for proposals (RFP) under the country’s Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP). The RFP seeks to deploy thousands of EV chargers, including fast chargers, in public and private places across Canada such as highways, public lots, multi-unit residential buildings, workplaces, and where on-road vehicle fleets are serviced. Applications will be accepted until September 19, 2024.

This funding will build on Canada’s intent to deploy 84,500 EV chargers across Canada. In addition to investments by provinces, territories, municipalities and the private sector, the federal government has supported approximately 20 percent of the nearly 30,000 public chargers that are operating in Canada.

Link to RFP: Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program

U.S. FAA updates guidance on Remote ID for drones

Earlier this year, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began enforcing the remote identification (remote ID) rule for recreational and commercial drones. The remote ID rule allows for identification and tracking of drones, and it had been optional due to availability issues with remote ID equipment. Now, the FAA has updated its guidance for complying with the rule. Its document for getting started with remote ID explains the rule, why it exists, and which drones must comply. It also explains the options for compliance and how to register drones with remote ID.

Link to guidance: Remote ID Toolkit

Markham, Canada, invests in energy tech

Today, Canada Growth Fund Inc. (“CGF”) and Markham District Energy Inc. (MDE), the city-owned operator of the Markham, Ontario, district energy networks, has announced a financial hedge fund with Canada Growth Fund (CGE) to enable new investment in Ontario’s energy sector. The 10-year contract enables MDE’s investment in a new heat pump system that will provide low-carbon energy services to Markham residents. The Project uses Noventa Energy Partners Inc.’s Wastewater Energy Transfer (WET) technology to extract thermal energy from wastewater.

Link to press release:
https://www.markhamdistrictenergy.com/news_event/canada-infrastructure-bank-cibc-and-markham-district-energy-close-270-million-infrastructure-investment/

Antigosh, Nova Scotia, receives funding for grid modernization

Electrical grid modernization requires a significant investment in new technology, including smart meters, remote monitoring equipment, and sensors. Smaller towns and cities that operate their own infrastructure often don’t have the resources to update the grid. The Government of Canada has jumped in to help support the town of Antigosh, Nova Scotia, with its grid modernization efforts with a $9.7 million CDN investment. The funding will help improve efficiency and increase the use of wind and solar energy. It will also provide for hardware and software to increase the grid’s resiliency. The funding for this project is provided through Canada’s Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program (SREPs), which supports smart renewable energy, energy storage, and electrical grid modernization projects.

Link to document: SREPs

British Columbia approves new FortisBC EV charging rates

The British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) in Canada has approved FortisBC’s new rate plan for its chain of EV charging stations. The new plan changes the way EV costs are calculated. Most EV charging stations charge by the minute, but FortisBC’s plan charges for the actual amount of electricity used. Drivers will bay $0.39 CDN per kilowatt hour at all 22 locations of FortisBC charging stations under the new plan starting August 1. The BCUS also approved FortisBC charging drivers a $0.40 CDN per minute idling rate.

Link for more information: FortisBC charging stations

Info-Tech releases strategy white paper for government adoption of “exponential IT”

Info-Tech Research Group has published a paper that provides a blueprint for government entities to adopt what it calls an “exponential IT” mindset. Organizations with this mindset are more likely to benefit from using technology that is expected to deliver rapid business transformation. The Info-Tech paper covers three main areas:

  • Defend against AI attacks by implementing measures such as machine learning and continuous threat monitoring.
  • Focus on citizen-centric value delivery by using using emerging technologies like AI and the cloud to strengthen trust and engagement.
  • Deliver autonomously by using AI-powered systems, robotic process automation, and self-service platforms.

Link to the document:

Priorities for Adopting an Exponential IT Mindset in State and Local Government

GSMA report predicts growth of cellular IoT connections in Latin America

The GSMA’s The Mobile Economy Latin America 2024 report predicts significant growth in the number of cellular IoT connections in that region through 2030. The researchers estimate that those connections will grow at a rate of 8 percent CAGR during that time. Brazil and Mexico will account for nearly 80 percent of that growth, but IoT is gaining traction in Argentina, Columbia, Chile, and Venezuela as well.

The report credits the increased adoption of low-power, wide area (LPWA) networks for the rate of IoT growth in Latin America. Given that growth, the GSMA believes there are opportunities for companies selling IoT solutions to partner with IoT platform firms in the region.

Link to the report:

The Mobile Economy Latin America 2024

California institutes new rule to electrify industrial boilers

Regulators in the South Coast Air Quality Management District approved a measure intended to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from industrial boilers and water heaters. The new rule applies to businesses across Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties.

The new rule is expected to expand commercial use of heat pumps and other new technologies in the region. Businesses will have to comply soon as the regulators wanted to give heat pump and other manufacturers time to ramp production. Smaller units in new buildings must meet zero-emission limits by 2026. Existing facilities with high-temperature units have until 2033 to comply.

Link to regulation

Proposed Amended Rule 1146.2

NIST finalizes security requirements for controlled unclassified information

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has finalized its update of guidelines for safeguarding controlled unclassified information (CUI) such as intellectual property or health data. NIST SP 800-700A Revision 3 covers a number of areas affecting connected devices including device identification and authentication, identifier and authenticator management, physical access control, and access control for transmission.

The updated guidelines are designed to help organizations assess where they stand with security requirements and allow for flexibility to customize according to an organization’s needs.

Link to the document:

NIST SP 800-700A Revision 3

Canadian government launches Local Leadership for Climate Adaptation initiative

The government of Canada has announce a $530 million CDN initiative to build more climate-resilient communities. The Local Leadership Climate Adaptation initiative, administered through the Green Municipal Fund, will allocate those funds to more than 1,400 communities by 2031 to support adaptation planning, capacity building, and implementation to become more resilient against climate change.

Previous projects funded through the Green Municipal Fund have included retrofitting buildings with smart technology and smart grid projects.

Link to website

Green Municipal Fund

New York state releases Retrofit Playbook for large buildings

The state of New York has released a free guide to help owners of large buildings modernize and decarbonize their properties. The Retrofit Playbook for Large Buildings was developed by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), RMI, Building Energy Exchange, and Urban Land Institute. It provides case studies, technical resources, and best practices to create asset value, reduce emissions, and increase resiliency.

A central part of the playbook is electrifying buildings, and implementing connected systems has a big role in that regard. The playbook provides resources in the form of webinars, reports, best practices, and other related playbooks to help building owners transition to electrified and connected systems such as heat pumps, ventilation controls, heating and cooling monitoring, and waste heat recovery.

Link to document:

Retrofit Playbook for Large Buildings

Connecticut announces awards for EV charger buildouts

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) has selected nine sites in the state to receive awards for building out electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. The awards total more than $5 million USD and will fill gaps in the state’s federallydesignated Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFC). They will fund 45 new charging stations across the state.

Each site will contain Level 3 EV charging stations with a minimum of four Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) ports. The charging stations will not be more than one mile from the exit ramps along the AFC.

Link to press release:

Governor Lamont Announces Phase 1 Conditional Awards for Electric Vehicle Charger Build Out in Connecticut

Michigan funds lamppost EV chargers in Detroit, other locations

The state of Michigan has funded the installation of EV chargers on lampposts in Detroit and other locations. The Michigan Mobility Funding Platform (MMFP), administered by the state’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME), has selected EV charging company Voltpost to deploy the chargers at a cost of $100,000 USD. Each of the ten locations will have chargers at curbsides or in parking lots.

Voltpost claims its lamppost charging platform reduces the cost, timing, and footprint of EV chargers by retrofitting existing infrastructure and removing the need for construction and trenching. This lowers the barriers to implementing municipality-owned EV systems and more easily allows municipalities to generate new revenue streams from the charging fees.

Link to website:

Michigan Mobility Funding Platform (MMFP)

The U.S. Department of Energy appoints board of directors for the Foundation for Energy Security and Innovation

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has identified individuals to serve on the governing board of the newly formed Foundation for Energy Security and Innovation. They will set priorities for FESI, which was formed by the 2022 CHIPS and Science Act, including key hires, fundraising. fostering public-private partnerships, investing in companies commercializing critical energy technologies, and tackling a wide variety of systemic and distributed federal, state, and local deployment challenges.  

Link to press release:

DOE Appoints Inaugural Board of Directors for Groundbreaking New Foundation

Brazil and Japan issue joint statement on sustainable development, climate partnership

Brazil and Japan have issued a statement outlining common goals in their Brazi/Japan Partnership Initiative on Environment, Climate, Sustainable Development and Resilient Economies partnership. Among them is an agreement to explore cooperation on joint technological development and technology transfer to Brazilian stakeholders. Both countries renewed their commitment to promoting the Collaborative Development Project for Precision and Digital Agriculture to Strengthen the Innovation Ecosystem and the Sustainability of Brazilian Agrifood Chains, including development of agricultural data platforms and using IT through public-private partnerships between Brazil and Japan. 

Link to the statement:

Joint Statement on the Brazil-Japan Partnership Initiative on Environment, Climate, Sustainable Development and Resilient Economies

Biden-Harris administration announces clean energy manufacturing investments

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $1.93 billion USD for 35 projects across 20 states through the Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Credit (48C), a tax credit funded by the Inflation Reduction Act. Among the projects receiving those tax credits includes support for electric grid resilience and EV charging stations. The full list of projects is available here.

Chattanooga invests in $280 million smart grid technology project

Chattanooga, Tennessee, and electric utility EPB have invested $280 million USD to create a local smart grid for the city. The investment includes a $169 million municipal bond. The smart grid will be able to communicate with all the devices connected to it: smart meters, sensors, controllers, and computers. An EPB-funded study predicts that the project will product $2.7 billion USD in economic value over 10 years.

Link to study:

Ten Years of Fiber Optic and Smart Grid Infrastructure in Hamilton County, Tennessee

New American Medical Association codes to affect remote patient monitoring

The American Medical Association (AMA) has proposed a medical coding change that would allow Medicare to pay for more remote patient monitoring (RPM). If the AMA’s Current Procedural Terminology Editorial Panel approves the changes at their May 2024 meeting, the new rules would allow shorter monitoring times and more interactive communication to be billable.

Link to story:

New codes from the AMA could mean more RPM reimbursement by 2025

City of Carmel modernizes its network infrastructure with WiFi 6E technology

Carmel, Indiana, has updated its wired and wireless networking infrastructure with HPE Aruba Networking systems, which support the WiFi 6E standard. The move is in response partly to increased public and municipal data traffic from mobile and IoT devices. The new system is expected to deliver free, end-to-end WiFi connectivity to support the public and city staff. The press release is available here.

Canadian smart grid project wins innovation award

The Sault Smart Grid project serving Sault Ste. Maria, Ontario, has won the Innovation Excellence Award by the Electricity Distributors Association (EDA). Managed by PUC Distribution, which the city owns, the Sault Smart Grid was recognized as Canada’s first community-wide smart grid system. The project has allowed for improved grid resilience, reporting, and outage management while reducing the amount of released carbon dioxide by 2,804 tons.

Link to awards announcement:

Electricity Distributors Association Honours Outstanding Local Hydro Achievements

US Gov issues AI adoption guidance

The US Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) together with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued guidance to US Federal agencies and other public sector agencies about the adoption of AI in the US public sector. The draft guidance is aimed at adoption of AI in four areas in particular: chat interfaces; code generators; debugging tools; and image generators. The guidance is aimed at accelerating adoption while also safeguarding sensitive data and users’ personal information.

Link to Federal guidance:

Emerging Technology Prioritization Framework: FedRAMP

Peru issues technical guidance for Smart Cities

The National Quality Institute of Peru (Inacal), an agency of the country’s Ministry of Production, has approved four technical standards to guide cities in the country adopt smart city technologies. The standards comprise ‘a master plan’ intended to guide mayors and city authorities. According to news reports, the new guidance is expected to become mandatory for city authorities.

News report:

Estos son los avances para el desarrollo de ciudades inteligentes en el Perú | Noticias | Diario Oficial El Peruano

Ecuador holds Smart City summit

The Government of Ecuador has held a summit of government officials, telecommunications executives and local government leaders to discuss the development of smart cities in the country, and what technologies can be incorporated to benefit Ecuadorian citizens and communities. The event was organised by the country’s Ministry of Telecommunications and the Information Society (MINTEL).

Government announcement:

Avanzamos en el desarrollo de ciudades inteligentes – Ministerio de Telecomunicaciones y de la Sociedad de la Información

US DOT: $50m transport tech awards

The US Department of Transport has made grant awards totalling $50 million to 34 transport technology demonstration projects under the Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionising Transportation (SMART) programme, part of the $500 million Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.  Projects include connected vehicles and V2I in Chattanooga, Charleston and Washington State. Digital transport twins will be created in Puerto Rico and Broward County, Florida; smart roads and traffic systems in Wyoming, Maryland and Talladega, AL.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Investments in Innovative Transportation Technology Projects | US Department of Transportation

NIST strategic plan for smart cities

NIST is developing a strategic plan for a three year programme of research and development of smart city technologies and their implementation. The strategic plan will run from 2024 to 2026, and is intended to give new focus and direction to the Global Community Technology Challenge (GCTC) programme of U.S smart cities and communities that is led by NIST. NIST is now conducting a public review of its published proposals before publication of the final plan in spring 2024. the plan can be viewed at: 

https://doi.org/10.6028/NIST.SP.1900-207.ipd

Portland seeks new approaches to city surveillance

The City of Portland, Oregon, is conducting a review of its surveillance technologies policy. The city began the development of a surveillance technology policy in 2021, which has included the development of an inventory of all surveillance technologies within the city. More broadly, the city is seeking approaches and technologies that support public safety without exacerbating pre-existing bias or divides. The City of Portland PDX website can be found at:

Smart City PDX | Portland.gov

Alexandria, VA, expands smart mobility programme

The city of Alexandria, Virginia, has published its fy 2024 annual work program, detailing the city’s smart mobility programme of works and objectives for 2024. The city, which is in the Greater Washington DC area, has set out major work objectives including: adaptive signal control; traffic data governance; smart intersections; smart asset management; Intelligent Transportation Systems;  Autonomous Vehicle preparations and infrastructure; and connected vehicle infrastructure. the FY 2024 Annual Work Programme can be found at:

Alexandria Smart Mobility Annual Work Plan FY 2024

White House ratings for infrastructure IoT security

The White House is considering introducing a ratings system to rank critical infrastructure cybersecurity. Utilities for water, rail, energy and other critical infrastructure sectors will have their technology, including embedded and IoT, inspected for cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and ranked in an effort to improve oversight and hold utilities to account for cyber resilience. The ranking scheme would be parallel to the Administration’s efforts to introduce a voluntary cybersecurity scheme for consumer smart devices: the Cyber Trust Mark. The plans were revealed by Anne Neuberger, deputy national security advisor for cyber, during the Billington Cybersecurity Summit in Washington DC in September.

More information here.

DOE awards $3.5bn for Grid innovation

The US Department of Energy has announced up to $3.5 billion in Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) Program investments for 58 projects across 44 states to strengthen electric grid resilience and reliability across America. Recipients include microgrid and innovation programmes in Chattanooga, New Orleans, Jamestown, Greater Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Oklahoma, Portland, Rhode Island, Tri-State, Sacramento, Missouri, and Virginia.

More information here.

US-Israel National Infrastructure IoT cyber initiative

A joint initiative between the Israeli Government’s National Cyber Directorate (INCD) and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is aimed at improving the security of embedded and IoT systems in both countries’ national infrastructure. The programme covers hardened cybersecurity for industrial control systems, air traffic, airports, and maritime threat intelligence, and will be implemented in both the United States and in Israel.

Further information can be found here.

NYC launches Smart City testbed

New York City has launched a testbed programme to develop new technologies for adoption by the City. Technology pilots will be developed by companies alongside City authorities and New York University, with feedback from local organisations and communities. Successful pilots will then be adopted by the City and scaled up across the metropolitan area.

More information on NYC’s testbed programme here.

Brazil launches $340bn Internet, 5G, Infrastructure and Smart City programme

The Brazilian Government has launched a $340 billion programme to expand and modernise the country’s infrastructure, transportation, healthcare, education, telecoms and cities. It includes plans to invest $5.6 billion in 5G, and $122 billion in Smart Cities, $94 billion in modernising transportation, as well as $9 billion for water modernisation and $108 billion on energy infrastructure modernisation

More information on Brazil’s infrastructure modernisation programme here.