Powering Strong Communities

Seattle City Light, agencies release clean transportation electrification plan

Seattle City Light, along with other local government agencies, has released a plan to transition the city to a transportation system with lower greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution while increasing electric mobility options and creating a pipeline of clean energy jobs and workforce diversity.

Along with Seattle City Light, the effort was co-led by the Office of Sustainability and Environment, the Seattle Department of Transportation, and the Office of Economic Development.

The Transportation Electrification Blueprint calls for Seattle to take immediate action to plan for the policy changes, infrastructure investments, and partnerships that will be needed to meet the city’s 2030 goals.

Those goals require that 100 percent of shared mobility, such as carshare services, have zero emissions; 90 percent of all personal trips are zero emission; 30 percent of all goods delivery is zero emission; 100 percent of the city’s vehicle fleet is zero emission; the city shall have one or more “Green & Healthy Streets,” areas where streets are closed to cars and goods are delivered by electric vehicles; and electric power infrastructure is in place to enable the transition to electric transportation technologies and vehicles.

“As the plan is implemented City Light will co-convene new internal working groups to coordinate progress throughout the City towards milestones that deliver towards the 2030 goals stated in the plan,” David Logsdon, director of electrification and strategic technology at City Light, said via email.

Specifically, Logsdon said Seattle City Light plans to develop entirely new program offerings for its customers; drive higher customer adoption with incentives, rebates, discounts and promotions; integrate demand-side management components into new program offerings to avoid or reduce the need for traditional transmission and distribution upgrades and optimize the grid and City Light’s resources; and explore opportunities to increase customer access to substantial private capital investments in electric vehicle charging services in the region.

Seattle City Light has already launched time-of-day rate pilot programs for residential and commercial customers and is working with King County Metro to support the adoption of battery-powered buses and with Washington State Ferries and the Port of Seattle to support electrification. Seattle City Light also is implementing several cross-sector pilots and demonstration projects to inform future program designs.

In addition, there already are 16 City Light-owned electric vehicle fast chargers in Seattle City Light’s service territory, and the utility plans to have more than 25 by the end of 2021.

Seattle City Light in 2019 began preparing a Transportation Electrification Strategic Investment Plan outlining its approach to electrification and defining its framework to develop transportation electrification programs. The electrification plan was approved by the Seattle City Council in October 2020.

The plan “lays out the priorities for City Light’s Transportation Electrification efforts, the equity outcomes we intend to achieve via the portfolio, and what initial milestones we will achieve as we invest in the key sectors of public transit; commercial, government, and nonprofit fleets; and personal mobility,” Logsdon said.

The plan builds on the utility’s core mission to achieve a vision of the healthy future that our region depends on—one that is built in concert with our community stakeholders and delivers a grid that is equitable, carbon-neutral, modernized, and future-enabled,” Logsdon said.