Puget Sound Energy has proven itself to be a leader in addressing climate change, investing in both renewable resources and energy efficiency projects and programs. They have committed to working towards providing 100%, carbon-free electricity by the year 2045 and have already made positive steps towards that goal, increasing from 34% carbon-free electricity in 2020 to 43% in 2022. There will never be one single solution that leads us to the path of a clean energy future, but rather a combination of seemingly small, yet meaningful everyday changes. One of these changes is promoting and supporting the transition from gas to electric transportation.
“We’ve often heard from customers who attend our events,” explains Puget Sound Energy’s Clean Energy Project Manager Danielle Kievit, “that they want to purchase an electric vehicle but don’t have a way to charge it, leading to an ongoing chicken-or-the-egg scenario. I have worked at PSE for nearly four years as a Clean Energy Product Manager responsible for overseeing operations and success of our transportation electrification products and services. Our products are designed to support customers in their electrification journey, whether they are working on transitioning their fleets away from fossil fuels, providing charging as an amenity for their employees or tenants, or simply want a trusted resource to learn more about electric vehicles and how to charge them.”
Olympia Yacht Club EV Charging Stations
As part of this work, Puget Sound Energy partnered with Olympia Yacht Club to install and open a brand-new electric vehicle charging station. This location was chosen after careful consideration of traffic, existing EV charging stations and customer input from surveys. The new location needed to have ample parking, be easy to access and have amenities nearby.
“Olympia Yacht Club was an excited and eager partner from our first meeting,” shares Danielle, “immediately recognizing the benefit this would provide to the community, from those who live in multifamily buildings nearby to others who need a quick charge while they do some grocery shopping.”
“The partnership between Olympia Yacht Club and Puget Sound Energy was established many years ago,” explains Olympia Yacht Club Commodore Lenora Tanaka, “with the energy need we had during the build of our clubhouse and dock power pedestals. That partnership, which has been built over 120 years, has remained instrumental in the latest endeavor of adding the car charging station in our parking lot.”
Lenora has received significant positive feedback from community and club members in regard to both the location and ease of use compared to other electric vehicle charging stations.
“I feel it is important to mention,” says Lenora, “that if it were not for the forward-thinking leaders involved in this partnership between Olympia Yacht Club, Puget Sound Energy and our wonderful Olympia neighbors, this electric vehicle charging station would never have come to fruition. I commend them all.”
Up & Go Electric Program
The new Puget Sound Energy electric vehicle charging station at Olympia Yacht Club is a product of a larger program known as Up & Go Electric. Up & Go Electric began as a series of pilot projects focused on learning about the real-time costs of both installing and maintaining charging infrastructure.
“In 2021,” says Danielle, “Puget Sound Energy filed a Transportation Electrification Plan, which outlines how we plan to support transportation electrification and since then have launched programs designed to support installations of EV charging in multifamily properties, workplaces, and with fleets. These programs also all contain a service called Empower Mobility, which provides enhanced incentives and assistance to entities and projects that directly benefit historically underrepresented communities. We are currently accepting applications for the aforementioned programs and plan to enroll customers over the next five years. For those who just want to learn more about electric vehicles, we offer educational opportunities through virtual webinars and in-person events in addition to online tools to find the EV that works best for your lifestyle.”
Puget Sound Energy To Expand Public EV Charging
Earlier this summer, Puget Sound Energy received approval from the Utilities and Transportation Commission to expand its public charging pilot into a program. They are also looking ahead to early next year when they plan to launch incentive programs for residential customers purchasing and installing their own chargers. As community members, something we can do to encourage and promote the shift from gas to electric is to make our interest and need known.
“Property managers and employers,” admits Danielle, “are hesitant to invest in electric vehicle chargers until there is an actual need at the property. Multifamily tenants or employees can let their landlords and employers know about the charging programs and encourage them to apply, especially if there are existing electric vehicles at the property or established interest. Communities can also stay engaged by subscribing to our Up & Go Electric newsletter, which contains information on upcoming programs and events sponsored by Puget Sound Energy, plus helpful information and news about electric vehicles.”
Visit Puget Sound Energy’s website to learn more about their mission to electrify transportation and follow their journey toward a carbon-free energy future.