West Coast States Team up to Advance Electric Trucking Infrastructure

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Electricity providers in California, Oregon and Washington have announced a new effort to significantly curb emissions from transportation.

In total, nine electric utilities and two agencies representing more than two dozen municipal utilities are sponsoring the West Coast Clean Transit Corridor Initiative, a study to determine how best to ensure that Interstate 5 — a lifeline of goods transportation that extends more than 1,300 miles from the Canadian to the Mexican border — is equipped with sufficient charging to support electric long-haul trucks.

“Many of the utilities represented in this partnership have programs to support charging electric vehicles that travel within our own territories, but for extended shipping and long-haul trucks, we need solutions that we can apply across utility territories,” states Caroline Choi, senior vice president of corporate affairs for Edison International and Southern California Edison, one of the utilities sponsoring the study.

The study will explore how best to provide charging on I-5 and its connecting routes for medium- and heavy-duty electric trucks, as well as help determine what role electricity providers can play in electrifying the corridor. Key locations for charging infrastructure will also be identified and prioritized.

“Big challenges require bold and collaborative solutions, and climate change is such a challenge,” says Emeka Anyanwu, energy innovation and resources officer for Seattle City Light, another study sponsor. “So it is exciting to see such the wide range of experience and diversity of thinking from our various utilities being brought to bear to tackle such a critical issue.”

Other initiative sponsors are the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, the Northern California Power Agency, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., Pacific Power, Portland General Electric (PGE), Puget Sound Energy, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), San Diego Gas & Electric and the Southern California Public Power Authority.

“Well-planned electric charging infrastructure along I-5 is important to our region,” notes Scott Bolton, senior vice president of external affairs for Pacific Power. “The I-5 corridor is the economic backbone for transporting essential goods and services to our Oregon, Washington and California customers. We see investments in transportation electrification and electric charging infrastructure as a great way to support the economic vitality and environmental quality of communities along the corridor.”

“It’s these types of opportunities that continue to push us toward a more sustainable future,” adds Bill Boyce, manager of electric transportation for SMUD. “We are proud to partner on a local, regional and national level to reduce emissions from vehicles, and this effort to electrify our trade corridors will have significant benefits to the communities we serve.”

“We are coming together on a regional level and taking the lead, working across state, county and city lines to take a significant step to address air pollution and climate change,” says Dave Robertson, vice president of public policy at PGE. “By ensuring customers involved in electric truck technology can expect a consistent and reliable experience up and down I-5 and its connected major arteries, we can accelerate a future where all-electric big rigs haul freight without polluting our communities.”

The study is expected to be concluded by year-end, with implementation of recommendations expected to begin in 2020.

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