City Light Staff Planning

Growing electrification of needs like transportation and heating relies on innovative “firsts.” We must explore and test brand-new technologies and approaches that support large-scale use of clean electricity by many different kinds of consumers including business, transportation, industrial, and residential customers. Seattle City Light is often at the forefront of researching, developing, or piloting new ways of working, in close collaboration with partners, including our customers. We invite you to explore some of the ways we are re-envisioning energy services and elevating communities throughout our greater Seattle region.

Piloting How Efficient Buildings Use the Grid

12th Ave Art Building, Source: Community Roots Housing

Seattle City Light, EPRI and Community Roots Housing are recipients of a Department of Energy Connected Communities grant, partnering to retrofit affordable housing communities into grid-interactive efficient buildings (GEBs). This demonstration project will evaluate whether buildings can be used as a grid resource while lowering the energy burden for tenants. The project is expected to add 30% energy savings through efficiency, flexibility, storage, and distributed generation in low-income multi-family housing. It will also help our utility learn about best practices to apply towards future projects and programs.

Reducing Freight Train Yard Emissions

BNSF Yard Truck Photo, Source: Puget Sound Clean Air Agency

We've partnered with BNSF Railway to replace diesel-fueled yard trucks and tractors (which service trains) with all-electric versions at its South Seattle Intermodal Yard, located in a Duwamish Valley community impacted by polluted air.

Over the lifetime of the project, the replacement with all-electric yard trucks and tractors is estimated to reduce 25.2 tons of NOx, 6.2 tons of PM2.5, and 2,498 tons of CO2. A first to demonstrate the feasibility of electric yard trucks and tractors in our region, this project promotes the adoption of zero-emission technologies for freight operations.

Addressing How Outages Burden Communities

Family with Fridge Photo, Source: Marcela Gara, Resource Media, Flickr

We know that outages can disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous and People of Color, immigrant, refugee, and low-income communities – but how do health, safety, and economic impacts happen in practice? A new grant-funded study with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will research the social burdens of outages and help us make equitable investments in the future. This includes a first-of-its-kind demonstration of distribution planning that is informed by equity measures.

Learning About Hydrogen’s Possibilities

Department of Energy grant funding enables our multi-year collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the Port of Seattle to explore hydrogen fueling and storage.

Hydrogen is a potential zero-emission power source for heavy-duty vehicles and can help decarbonize maritime and trucking industries. Our research will help assess the feasibility, risks, and benefits of using this technology.

Sailing New Seas Through Maritime Electrification

Starting in 2023, electric-hybrid ferries will begin bringing significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions on the Seattle waterfront. To support maritime electrification, Seattle City Light is enabling the first electrified ferry terminal in the region at Colman Dock.

Washington State Ferries will eventually use the same amount of energy as a large skyscraper to charge up multiple ferries. Charging a large transit vessel such as a ferry carries complex new challenges that can only be addressed through partnership.

Seattle City Light is collaborating with the Washington State Ferries to assess solutions around optimizing grid usage, load capacity, and energy storage and distribution systems.

We are also partnering with the Port of Seattle and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to study, design, procure and construct technology and infrastructures for the waterfront grid. Potential solutions such as networked microgrids with multiple sources of electricity generation can make the waterfront more resilient and can help Seattle recover after major natural disasters.

Assessing the Impacts of Electrification

The City of Seattle is committed to addressing the climate crisis through decarbonization, with a focus on electrification as a key strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To help us prepare for growing electrification and what Seattle City Light customers will need from us in the future, we worked with the industry-leading Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to conduct an Electrification Assessment.

This assessment – one of the most comprehensive electrification studies ever conducted on behalf of an energy provider – has helped Seattle City Light better understand the energy that is needed for the electrification of buildings, transportation, and commercial and industrial applications within our service territory. In addition to being a robust planning and forecasting tool, the assessment also provides insight into the available capacity on our existing distribution grid and better input data for load forecasting, which helps us improve grid readiness.

EPRI, p. 1-5, Seattle City Light Electrification Assessment): Rapid Market Advancement scenario (Scenario 2) colored by the end-use sector. The totals over the colored area show the total TWh of electric energy required over time,
Rapid Market Advancement scenario (Scenario 2) colored by the end-use sector. The totals over the colored area show the total TWh of electric energy required over time.

City Light

Dawn Lindell, General Manager and CEO
Address: 700 5th Ave, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34023, Seattle, WA, 98124-4023
Phone: (206) 684-3000

Seattle City Light was created by the citizens of Seattle in 1902 to provide affordable, reliable, and environmentally responsible electric power to the City of Seattle and neighboring suburbs.