2015 Annual Awards & Recognition Dinner
April 29, 2015
Clean Cities members and friends came together for an elegant celebration of our 2014 accomplishments.
The evening featured presentations by:
- Charles Knutson, Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Inslee;
- Alex Schroeder, Transportation Technology Deployment Manager at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; and
- The University of Washington EcoCAR3 team.
We also reviewed highlights of our work together the past year, beginning with the results of our 2014 Annual Data Survey. Each year wemeasure the progress of our members and partners by collecting data on the amount and type of fuel used by their fleets. The U.S. Department of Energy sets a target for each Coalition to reduce petroleum use by 16 percent per year over the previous year.
Turns out 2014 was a banner year for us!
Preliminary results suggest that our members and stakeholders displaced a total of 18.8 million gallons of petroleum in 2014. This translates into 95,700 TONS of greenhouse gas pollution avoided. Note: These numbers are preliminary and in the process of being verified by the U.S. Department of Energy. We’ll announce final official numbers once they are confirmed. Stay tuned!
Other 2014 Highlights:
New Coalition Structure
2014 was a year of transition. The departure of our former coordinator, Stephanie Meyn, triggered a re-evaluation of the Coalitions’ staffing needs by our host, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. The outcome? The Clean Air Agency concluded that the Coalition is an effective program that is successfully reducing petroleum, forging partnerships, and protecting health and the environment – and that the Coalition could do even more for its members with more staff. Two distinct co-coordinator positions were created – and filled in July 2014. In case you haven’t met us yet:
o Scott DeWees coordinates technical and economic analysis, with an emphasis on medium and heavy-duty applications.
o Kimberley Cline coordinates partnerships, policy & outreach, with an emphasis on light-duty electric applications.
Now that we’re better staffed, a key undertaking is reassessing the suite of services we offer our members and looking for ways we can add value. We’re currently in the process of reaching out to every member organization, with the goal of learning about your goals and motivations for being part of Clean Cities, and what we can do to help you fulfill those goals. We’ll synthesize the feedback we receive and determine what enhancements, if any, to make to the services and benefits we offer.
Member Services: Education & Outreach
We often hear that members really value being kept informed of what’s going in the realm of alternative fuels. With that in mind, in the past year we have ramped up our education and outreach channels:
- We gave our website a long overdue makeover.
- We reinstated weekly news digest service, capturing the latest headlines on alternative fuel news.
- We maintain our quarterly newsletter, and want to feature more member news in each issue. Please send us any newsy tidbits you’d like to share!
- We are sending occasional legislative updates, tracking what’s happening in Olympia of interest to our members.
- We recently started event bulletins, highlighting upcoming events – especially those with discounts or other opportunities for members.
- We became more active on social media. Like us! (If you don’t already.) We’ll like you back.
Another way we’re working to build awareness of our coalition and create opportunities for our members is by forging partnerships with other networks. In 2014, we became active with the following:
- Alternative Fuel Rule Technical Advisory Group: In this forum we provide consultation to state fleet managers on petroleum reduction initiatives while also relaying information on their successes and challenges back to our members. We see this as a critical link between the development and implementation of the alternative fuel rule.
- Pacific Coast Collaborative West Coast Electric Fleets: we’re engaged with this initiative, which encourages fleets to pledge to adopt, or consider adopting, zero emission vehicles. The initiative is also developing an online resource to provide fleets with tools and technical information to aid in decision-making around zero emission vehicles.
- King County-Cities Climate Collaboration (K4C): We’re advising this collaboration of King County and eleven cities — Bellevue, Burien, Issaquah, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Redmond, Renton, Seattle, Shoreline, Snoqualmie, and Tukwila — on actions they can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.
The past year has been an active one legislatively, with many bills proposed to advance alternative fuels and electric vehicles and infrastructure.
- We supported bills to:
- Extend alternative fuel / electric vehicle sales tax exemptions beyond their current expiration date of June 30, 2015.
- Expand sales tax exemptions to businesses.
- Repeal the zero emission vehicle prohibition in the Clean Car Standards and Clean Car Program.
- We supported the Clean Fuel Standard.
- We participated in the Federal Energy Independence Summit. Kimberley Cline, along with Steering Committee members Ben Farrow and Darren Engle, headed to Washington, DC to meet with Washington State legislators and share with them the work that we’re doing, and what they can do to support alternative fuels at the federal level.
A cornerstone of our work is coordinating events to connect our members with information, resources and potential new partners. In the past year, we organized, or participated in:
- Electric Vehicle Policy At Work. This morning workshop focused on the policy implications of offering workplace charging.
- Green Transportation Summit. We coordinated a session on biodiesel, and also participated in a panel on electric vehicles.
- Puget Sound National Association of Fleet Administrators – Green Fleet Summit. We led a session on the forthcoming alternative fuel rule – and its implications for local fleets.
- Plugged-In: Driving Change at the Capitol. Held in Olympia, this event created an opportunity for legislators and government staff to ride in, and drive, a variety of electric vehicles.
Keep an eye out for more events coming this year. We have an idle reduction workshop scheduled in June; and are considering additional training opportunities in natural gas, propane autogas, biodiesel, and/or the alternative fuel rule. Have ideas? Always welcome – just contact Kimberley or Scott.
We capped the evening by recognizing members who are leading, innovating and going above and beyond to help our region reduce its use of imported petroleum. Congratulations to our winners!
Kevin Kelly, Forest Gary – Recology CleanScapes
Best Performance by a Small Public Fleet: City of OlympiaA founding member of our coalition (a member since 1998!), the City of Olympia is also an early experimenter with electric vehicles. Though early experimentations weren’t very satisfying, City of Olympia persevered, and found a creative a way to adopt electric vehicles – using leases, rather than purchasing outright. This allows them to benefit from the federal tax credits, and provides flexibility to return the vehicles in the future should they want to upgrade to newer electric vehicles. The City of Olympia subsequently became the first public fleet in Washington to lease electric vehicles. What’s more, this fleet has demonstrated exemplary leadership in the past year by:
Tonia Buell – Washington State DOT
Best Performance by a Large Public Fleet: City of TacomaThe City of Tacoma is a Big City with a Big Vision. Tacoma is the second largest user of biodiesel in the state – second only to Washington State Department of Transportation – and last year used over 70,000 gallons. They also require that their biofuel be sourced from Washington producers. Tacoma’s fleet has deployed electric vehicles and has the largest fleet of neighborhood electric vehicles of any of our member organizations. They are finalizing a no-cost employee charging policy to encourage city employees to adopt EVs. And as if that’s not enough, the city is installing CNG infrastructure, so they can use biogas from their wastewater treatment plant to fuel city vehicles.
Best Performance by a Small Private Fleet: Click Wholesale DistributingClick is a small fleet taking big actions to make its operations sustainable AND profitable. In 2014 they continued their aggressive push towards adopting compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, rolling out an additional six trucks. They have also turned their attention to their diesel fleet: initially adopting B5 and ramping up to a B20 blend within months of their initial switch. With the additional CNG vehicles and the use of biodiesel, this company is now more than halfway to its goal of completely eliminating its diesel use.
Kevin Kelly, Forest Gary – Recology CleanScapes
Best Performance by a Large Private Fleet: Recology CleanScapesRecology CleanScapes is making a full court press on petroleum reduction. Having started a bit of a petroleum reduction rivalry through our Evergreen Fleets program several years ago, Recology CleanScapes has been investing heavily in alternative fuels and vehicles. In 2014 they purchased 32 CNG vehicles, and now two-thirds of their fleet runs on CNG. Additionally, Recology CleanScapes is increasing the biodiesel used for the diesel vehicles. Layering this on top of a robust driver fuel economy program and leading edge sustainability practices in the shop and we have a green fleet worthy of award.
Tonia Buell – Washington State DOT
Best Achievement in Electricity: Washington State Department of TransportationThe Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is the first state agency in the nation to take advantage of Nissan’s electric vehicle leasing program to secure several LEAFs. They also integrated Chevy Volts into their fleet, making them the first fleet (that we know of) in our membership to have both EVs and PHEVS. Their commitment to electric vehicles doesn’t stop there. In 2014 they also installed EV charging for fleet and employee use; developed and adopted an employee EV charging policy; continued to manage and promote the West Coast Electric Highway; and authored the State’s first EV action plan, which details strategies the state can consider to advance EVs throughout Washington.
Ben Farrow – Puget Sound Energy
Best Achievement in Natural Gas: Puget Sound EnergyIn 2014, Puget Sound Energy quietly rolled out a significant product that could pave the way for other organizations. They wanted to convert its critical response vehicles to natural gas, which has been difficult because these vehicles need to be able to reach remote areas during emergencies – and the regional infrastructure simply wasn’t robust enough. Puget Sound Energy solved this problem by procuring what are believed to be the first bi-fuel utility service trucks in the nation. These trucks allow the critical response team to use alternative fuels, but still have the ability to switch back to regular fuels when circumstances require it. Puget Sound Energy also worked with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission to establish a compressed gas tariff for utility customers, which gives fleets greater flexibility to make the switch.
Todd Shepler, Paul Andersson, Kyle Powers, Sean Pownell – City of Bellevue
Best Achievement in Biodiesel: City of BellevueThe City of Bellevue is demonstrating progressive leadership in investing in biodiesel, at a time when other organizations are scaling back. This fleet views biodiesel as a cost-effective strategy for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions — without many changes to operations or infrastructure. In 2014 they more than doubled their use of biodiesel, and began experimenting with higher biodiesel blends in low-turnover tanks. For 2015 they are evaluating new contract options to allow for competitive pricing and access to higher blend levels. And, while not strictly related to their biodiesel use, they recently adopted a “green fuel” surcharge on every gallon of fossil fuel dispensed by city pumps, which helps fund green fleet projects.
Darren Engle – Blue Star Gas
Best Achievement in Propane Autogas: Blue Star GasBlue Star Gas has been a significant driving force for petroleum reduction in our region. In the past three years they have scaled dramatically, facilitating the displacement of over a half million gallons of petroleum. Last year, they nearly doubled the amount of propane autogas used among their customers. What’s more, they have built a reputation in the region of being a dependable and fervent advocate of all alternative fuels.
Andrea Pratt – City of Seattle
Sustainable Commitment: City of SeattleEvery year we award an organization with the Clean Cities Sustainable Commitment award, which recognizes organizations that go above and beyond to reduce petroleum use. The City of Seattle, this year’s winner, is one our coalition’s founding members, and has remained a stalwart supporter of coalition activities ever since. It’s an organization that continues to set the bar high for other fleets – and also pave the wayso that others can learn from their experiences. In the past year the City of Seattle’s accomplishments include publishing an updated green fleet action plan; rolling out idle-reduction systems on all police enforcement vehicles; and amassing the largest light-duty hybrid vehicle fleet our membership has ever seen, as well as the largest light-duty EV fleet.
Spirit Award: Mary Ann Lobdell, Port of SeattleOur Alternative Fuels Spirit Award honors individuals who walk the talk, drive the jive, and make our coalition stronger just by being active in it. Mary Ann Lobdell fits that bill, and is someone who hasbeen a steady contributor to the region’s petroleum reduction activities, an active participant in Clean Cities and former Steering Committee member. She has helped her organizationbe an early adopter of clean technologies, introducing CNG vehicles in 2002, hybrids in 2003, and biodiesel in 2006. Within her organization she has been a champion for better data, maintenance, and fuel tracking systems. During her tenure as fleet manager, her organization has been repeatedly ranked among top performing government fleets and is recognized as having catalytic impacts on the alternative fuel market in the region. Through her participation in the Public Fleet Managers Association, she regularly shares Clean Cities information and encourages fleets to get involved.
Honorable Mention:This year we had many amazing candidates for the Spirit Award, all of whom are worthy of recognition! We thank them all for their contributions to our collective efforts!