Light Reading: January/February 2022

Seattle City Light explores renewable hydrogen fuel at the Port of Seattle with Department of Energy awards

Last year, a team from Seattle City Light, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories began to explore the potential of shifting from fossil fuel to clean hydrogen as fuel to power medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. This work is supported by two awards from the U.S. Department of Energy totaling $2.12 million to help meet emission reduction goals set by Seattle City Light and the Port of Seattle. The study team also includes partners at The Northwest Seaport Alliance and PACCAR/Kenworth.   

Clean hydrogen fuel is expected to play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in some of the more hard-to-decarbonize maritime and trucking industries. Hydrogen production and hydrogen-fueled medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are a possible solution for shifting some of these uses off fossil fuels, with potential benefits that will continue to grow with the project itself.  

A screenshot of an animation of how the renewable hydrogen infrastructure would work at the Port of Seattle
The ports in Seattle and Tacoma through The Northwest Seaport Alliance are planning for a clean energy future. One possible strategy is for zero-emission green hydrogen to be produced and stored to fuel heavy-duty vehicles at new fueling stations. Once hydrogen infrastructure is in place, planners envision using it to generate on-demand shore power for ships at berth to replace burning of diesel fuel, or charging electric powered tugboats and other vessels. Hydrogen even has the potential to power a mini-electric grid at the Port, providing crucial back-up power in the event of a natural disaster. (Animation by Sara Levine | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

For City Light General Manager and CEO Debra Smith, examining adding clean hydrogen fueling to the utility’s expanding energy portfolio is another example of how City Light is working to diversify our customers’ choice of energy.   

“As our industry has evolved, so has the demand from our customers to meet their specific energy needs with sustainable and environmentally responsible power. It is more important than ever for Seattle City Light to collaborate with our customers who want to confront the climate crisis by decarbonizing their operations,” Smith said. “We are excited to partner with these agencies to implement a cleaner future for our customers at the port and our region as a whole.”    

The team is projecting a two-year timeframe to produce the final project recommendations. We will continue to provide updates as significant milestones are met. You can read more about this innovative work here.

Be prepared for the next power outage  
Preparing for a power outage can go a long way to keep you and your family comfortable, informed, and most importantly, safe. Visit our blog post at powerlines.seattle.gov/stormprep for tips and resources on how you can prepare.  

Keep an eye out for scammers
We continue to receive a high volume of reports of scammers calling customers demanding payment. We’ve also received reports of scammers requiring payment through third-party payment applications. If someone calls you demanding payment rather than seeking to work with you to establish a payment plan, that person is a scammer. Hang up on them right away and call (206) 684-3000 to verify your account.  

Support clean energy with Green Up
Green up is a voluntary renewable energy program that allows you to support pacific northwest wind, solar and other renewable energy projects. You also help us fund rooftop solar projects hosted by not-for-profits like schools, parks and affordable housing organizations. Learn more at seattle.gov/city-light/GULR.  

Payment assistance programs are available
The impact of the pandemic continues to create significant financial hardships for our customers. City light is committed to ensuring all customers have access to clean energy, no matter their income. Here are some of the financial assistance programs available through city light to help ease the burden during this time. Visit seattle.Gov/city-light/paymentassistance to learn more.

Generators can be effective during a power outage, but they need to be used with care. Always use portable generators outside in well-ventilated areas and away from your home. 

Seattle City Light crews are in these neighborhoods, working to provide reliable service: 

Arroyo/South Arbor Heights: completing underground cable installation and removing obsolete streetlight equipment  

Belltown: system upgrades on 2nd Avenue and Battery Street 

Service Territory: replacing aging utility poles to enhance safety and reliability 

South Lake Union: building upgrades at the Denny Substation and civil improvements on Thomas Street 

Wedgwood: replacing aging underground infrastructure to improve reliability 

This is a partial list. For details go to seattle.gov/city-light/current-projects to access our map and learn about individual projects.