Washington state has again been recognized as a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Department of Enterprise Services Fleet Operations Manager George Carter III recently accepted the National Conference of State Fleet Administrators (NCSFA) 2018 Environmental Leadership Award.
The award is given annually to an NCSFA member who has demonstrated sustained contributions to the advancement and use of alternative fuels and who has contributed to the overall quality of their fleet and the nation's alternative fuel vehicle goals.
"DES has a strong history of leading the Governor's charge to reduce carbon emissions from state vehicles," said DES Director Chris Liu. "This award recognizes the efforts of DES employees like George who continue to help us meet these ambitious goals."
Since introducing the first Prius into the state fleet, the DES Fleet Operations program has been on the road to sustainability. In 2014, the agency leased 30 Nissan Leafs in support of Washington State Governor Jay Inslee's Executive Order 14-04 to reduce carbon emissions in the state.
Beginning in January 2016, DES began development of a comprehensive plan to implement the speedy adoption, and maximize use, of the affordable long-range EVs that were beginning to enter the market. This included filling a significant gap by funding initial investments to assist agencies with the buildout of charging infrastructure. Components of the project included the installation of more than 90 level II charging ports at state facilities to support new electric vehicles and the inclusion of future infrastructure.
While efforts were focused on a subset of nine state agencies that had the most significant fleets whose mission and usage is currently conducive to EV conversion, the project covered all state vehicles. Additionally, agencies are now building out the infrastructure needed to support the deployment of additional vehicles.
"The project was driven by DES, but success required full partnership and engagement with the agencies involved," said Carter. "We would not have been successful without our agency partners being willing to participate."
The state's work is getting noticed. In 2017, Western Washington Clean Cities honored DES Fleet Operations with the Best Achievement in Electricity award.
In January of 2018, Governor Jay Inslee signed an Executive Order 18-01 State Efficiency and Environmental Performance (SEEP), which aims to align the state's day-to-day operations with its ambitious policy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution.
SEEP directs state agencies to identify and adopt cost-effective measures that reduce emissions, focusing on facilities, public transportation, electric vehicles, environmentally preferable purchasing, and finance. Various workgroups are currently working towards the design and implementation of the policy goals to increase electric vehicle usage in the state fleet and to explore other alternative fueled vehicles as they become readily available.
Under Carter's leadership, DES Fleet Operations manages more than 4,700 vehicles for the state. In 2017, the program met Gov. Inslee's call to ensure at least 20 percent of all new passenger vehicle purchases are electric. Carter said he expects to exceed that number in 2018.