Green Operations

The Emerald City Strives for a Deeper Shade of Green

November 2012, Green Fleet Magazine - Feature

by Julie Sutor, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Anchored by the Space Needle, the Seattle skyline is among the most recognizable in the U.S. Western Washington Clean Cities (WWCC) is working to ensure that views of the Emerald City’s iconic cityscape aren’t compromised by vehicle emissions.

WWCC is housed within the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and works with scores of fleets and other stakeholders throughout the region to deploy alternative fuels, implement fuel economy improvements, and reduce idling.

In 2011, the coalition’s members averted the use of 10.2 million gallons of petroleum fuels. Contributing to that success is a growing trend among the area’s public-sector fleets to adopt electric vehicles.

“Local governments in Washington state have the highest electric vehicle adoption rate in the country,” said WWCC Coordinator Stephanie Meyn, who has spent more than a decade working to protect the Pacific Northwest’s air quality. “We’re second only to San Francisco in the amount of electric charging infrastructure installed.”

The City of Seattle boasts more than 40 all-electric Nissan LEAFs in its municipal vehicle pool. The cars have proven extremely popular among City employees, thanks to a concerted roll-out that included training, videos, and test drives.

Sea-Tac International Airport is also jumping on the electrification bandwagon, aiming to have all its ground-support equipment go electric within three years. The effort includes equipment operated by the airport and each airline. It promises to deliver substantial lifecycle emissions benefits, as 90 percent of the airport’s electricity is generated from renewable sources.

Electrification is only one alternative-vehicle power source that Meyn and her team are working to implement. WWCC is also facilitating dialogue among the region’s fleets, dairy farms, landfills, and biogas producers to foster adoption of renewable natural gas as a vehicle fuel.

“Until recently, gas from dairy farm digesters was used primarily to generate electricity. Our coalition is working with this industry to demonstrate the additional benefits of using this gas as fuel for vehicles,” Meyn said.

Get Involved With Clean Cities
Through the work of nearly 100 local coalitions, Clean Cities advances the nation’s economic, environmental, and energy security by reducing petroleum use in transportation. Clean Cities is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy. Find out more at www.cleancities.energy.gov.

For more information about WWCC,
e-mail Meyn at [email protected], or visit www.wwcleancities.org

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