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Charging Up in King County, Washington


King County, Washington is spearheading a regional effort to develop a network of electric vehicle charging stations. It is also improving its vehicle fleet and made significant improvements to a low-income senior housing development.
Dow Constantine, LeAnn Oliver, Jay Inslee, Sheda Sahandy
Energy Department Video

It’s not so much gears and oil anymore as computers and laptops.

King County is working with our regional partners, governments, utilities to push electrical infrastructure out into the community so that we can provide the basis for a new market for electric cars in our region.

Puget Sound took a very regional approach that was unusual and unique but very supportive of a new technology development.  And by working together, they have made a lot of progress towards that.

Our EECB grant is being used to put new 240-volt charging stations throughout our region so that people buying the first generation of mass-produced electric vehicles will have access to fast charging wherever they go through at King County.

And the reason the stimulus bill was so critical to this is that we are in a race.  We’re in a great race with China.  They are spending twice as much as we are now in the development of these new manufacturing jobs in clean energy and electric cars, and solar and wind, and you name it.  And if we don’t start that race now, we’re going to be left in the dust, which is not where America belongs.

From the perspective of a medium-sized city, we’ve been able to do things with the EECBG funds that we could never have done otherwise.  We have formed a regional partnership with six other cities that we are leveraging to do home energy reports for the communities.  And those are going to result in savings for our residents for years to come.

We’ve transformed our fleet.  We’ve been able to get 90 cleaner vehicles in the fleet, which is more than 40 percent of our light-duty vehicles.  And that’s going to have a huge impact for us.

We’ve been doing a lot of things around climate change and energy conservation, and these dollars were helpful in terms of moving several of our departments forward in reducing energy use. 

The Senior City affordable housing complex here in Federal Way, Washington, was one of the places that King County used some if its Energy Efficiency Conservation Block grant funds to help develop a healthier living environment for their residents.

The heating units in 34 of these units were upgraded through the use of the stimulus dollars that were provided by the U.S. Department of Energy through the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant funds.  And those units are designed to be up to 40 percent more efficient in heating the units in which they’re installed.

It’s the next great industrial revolution, and America can lead it in part thanks to stimulus money.