SEATTLE-The Port of Seattle Commission approved an agreement to make it possible for the Port to reach its 2030 objective to minimize carbon emissions by 50 percent, practically a decade early.
This long-sought significant turning point, voted on at the Commission conference on April 14, 2020 (Program product 8a), results from an authorization for a 10-year supply agreement with U.S. Gain for Renewable Gas (RNG), a low-carbon natural gas alternative produced usually from land fill waste. RNG produces no brand-new carbon emissions due to the fact that it replaces fossil fuels and recycles existing carbon in the environment.
The $23 million agreement enables the Port to acquire adequate fuel to heat 55 percent of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) terminal and to power 100 percent of its bus fleet to reach its 50 percent port-wide carbon decrease objective. SEA will be the first airport in the country to utilize RNG for heating.
The fuel delivery begins October 1, 2020. The RNG-related cost increase to the airline company rates is less than one percent. There are no costs to terminal renters such as Airport Dining and Retail operators or to taxpayers.
“The Commission vote is another example of the Port’s ecological management, even in hard times,” said Commission Vice President Fred Felleman and founding chair of the Energy and Sustainability Committee. “While it’s crucial that instant attention is given to healing from the COVID-19 crisis, we must continue to reduce our carbon footprint if we are to prevent the long-term economic and human costs associated with the environment crisis.”
Natural gas accounts for 75 percent of the Port’s yearly climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions. This contract will result in the reduction of roughly 11,000 tons of emissions the Port straight produces from its own operations (scope 1) and those from the energy it purchases (scope 2). This decrease is comparable to heating 4,000 Seattle homes or taking 2,400 passenger lorries off the roadways each year of the contract.
“We are honored to supply RNG to SEA and applaud them on attaining such an unbelievable milestone, well ahead of schedule,” stated Bryan Nudelbacher, director of RNG service advancement with U.S. Gain. “RNG is the immediate option to reduce thermal and transportation-related carbon emissions and since of this, we’re dedicated to developing new RNG projects that expand access to others seeking sustainability wins, like SEA.”
Statewide Carbon Fuel Requirement Needed
The Port’s RNG supply originates from a landfill outside Washington state as most large in-state land fills currently catch and sell their RNG either as electrical power or transportation fuel to California markets. California state legislation offers rate incentives for low carbon fuels making it more financially rewarding for eco-friendly fuel service providers.
For the previous three years, the Port has actually strongly supported legislation creating a statewide Clean Fuel Requirement for Washington, which would create incentives for brand-new companies to produce these fuels for use in Washington. The Port made use of RNG in 2014 and 2015, however the supply was transferred out of state due to financial rewards provided in California. As soon as Washington creates a clean fuel standard, the Port will no longer pay a premium for RNG or other eco-friendly fuels used for transport.
Smith Cove Benefits Research Study Approved
Port Commissioners also approved an Inter-local agreement with the Washington State Departments of Ecology and Natural Resources for the Smith Cove “Blue Carbon” pilot task (Agenda Product 8b). Blue carbon describes the ability of marine plants to sequester carbon from seawater and transfer it into sediments. The goal of the research study is to examine how well transplanted kelp and eelgrass offshore of Smith Cove Park sequester carbon and lower ocean acidification related to carbon concentrations. In collaboration with the Puget Noise Restoration Fund, the Port’s Smith Cove pilot has likewise reintroduced the previously overharvested Olympia Oysters to enhance water quality.
Begun in 2018, marine scientists and Port officials are using the Smith Cove Blue Carbon pilot project to evaluate methods to bring back and enhance vital marine environment in urban bays. The 25-acre project belongs to a local interagency effort examining how six different sites benefit the health of the Salish Sea.
The Commission licensed financing for the $250,000 job to support long-term evaluation.
“The Smith Cove Blue Carbon Task might make a genuine contribution to the remediation of the Salish Sea by minimizing ocean acidification, restoring Olympia oysters, and creating environment for salmon and other marine species,” stated Port of Seattle Commissioner Ryan Calkins. “These investments, and innovative projects like Smith Cove, demonstrate the Port’s dedication to minimizing our carbon emissions while being an economic leader in the region.”