Utilities are studying their role in electrifying the corridor

Electricity providers in the three West Coast states- California, Oregon and Washington - announced a joint study project, the West Coast Clean Transit Corridor Initiative, to determine how to support electric truck along the Interstate 5 and connecting routes. It's sponsored by nine electric utilities and two agencies representing more than two dozen municipal utilities.

The I-5 highway is already equipped with DC fast chargers for cars, but it will need a new charging infrastructure for heavy-duty vehicles, which are currently under development by many manufacturers. With more than 1,300 miles between the Canadian and the Mexican border, electrification will be a huge project and utilities already recognize the need to work together.

The study is expected to be concluded by year’s end, according to the press release. With a set of recommendations ready for implementation, it should be easier to get some financing for the installations of multi-megawatt charging stations we guess.

"The study will explore how best to provide EV charging on I-5 and its connecting routes for medium- and heavy-duty electric trucks that are being introduced by several major vehicle manufacturers, as well as to help determine what role electricity providers can play in electrifying the corridor. Key locations for electric truck charging infrastructure will also be identified and prioritized."

The main reason behind the initiative is the need to improve air quality and health in the communities. Most of the air pollution comes from transportation and areas around I-5 are especially exposed:

"In California, the transportation sector accounts for nearly 80% of the state’s air pollution and more than 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Washington and Oregon face similar environmental challenges, transportation being the largest contributor to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in those states as well."
"Those benefits include improved health. Data shows that people who live near truck-traffic corridors experience higher rates of asthma, lung and heart disease and chronic bronchitis due largely to breathing toxic vehicle emissions, specifically diesel particulate matter.

Caroline Choi, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs for Edison International and Southern California Edison, one of the utilities sponsoring the study said:

“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,”

Emeka Anyanwu, Energy Innovation & Resources officer for Seattle City Light, another study sponsor said:

“Big challenges require bold and collaborative solutions, and climate change is such a challenge. So it is exciting to see such a wide range of experience and diversity of thinking from our various utilities being brought to bear to tackle such a critical issue.”

Scott Bolton, senior vice president of External Affairs for Pacific Power said:

“Well-planned electric charging infrastructure along I-5 is important to our region. 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.”

Bill Boyce manager of Electric Transportation for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District said:

“It’s these types of opportunities that continue to push us toward a more sustainable future. 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.”

Dave Robertson, vice president of Public Policy at Portland General Electric said:

“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. We’re preparing for a future in which quiet, all-electric big rigs haul freight up and down I-5 and its connected major arteries without releasing pollution or carbon into the air.”