US-based public transport agency Sound Transit has signed an agreement with Puget Sound Energy (PSE) that will enable it to run link light rail trains on 100% clean energy from 2019.
Sound Transit will purchase wind energy directly from PSE's Green Direct programme under the new ten-year agreement.
Sound Transit board chair and Snohomish county executive Dave Somers said: “Sound Transit continues to demonstrate that being a sustainability leader can be done both with minimal expense and maximum positive impact on our economy.
“This agreement allows us to make link light rail service carbon neutral while improving regional air quality and investing in local clean energy projects.”
The agency intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the usage of renewable energy in its operations through the implementation of its 2015 sustainability plan. It also plans to make all facilities and electricity carbon-neutral by 2030.
Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff said: “This innovative agreement with Puget Sound Energy sets Sound Transit as a leader in providing clean energy services.
“By operating link light rail on green power starting in 2019, Sound Transit will offer transit users a carbon-neutral option for leaving their cars behind and help reduce the region's greenhouse gas emissions.”
Sound Transit will also be able to decrease its exposure to future utility price increase via the new arrangement, thereby reducing long-term operating costs.
The contract is also expected to stabilise 42% of the agency’s electricity production charges over the ten-year period and does not involve any capital cost.
PSE’s Green Direct initiative enables companies to achieve their environmental goals, and was launched in collaboration with two of its customers, the World Resources Institute and World Wildlife Fund.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission first approved the programme on 29 September 2016.
Image: Union Station in Seattle, the main administrative office of Sound Transit. Photo: courtesy of Steve Morgan via Wikipedia.