Light Reading: January / February 2022 – Powerlines


Seattle City Light explores renewable hydrogen fuel in 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 investigating the potential of switching from fossil fuels to clean hydrogen as a fuel to power medium and heavy vehicles. This work is supported by two US Department of Energy awards totaling $ 2.12 million to meet the emissions reduction targets set by Seattle City Light and the Port of Seattle. The study team also includes partners from The Northwest Seaport Alliance and PACCAR / Kenworth.

Clean hydrogen fuel is expected to play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, especially in some of the harder-to-decarbonize marine and trucking industries. Hydrogen production and hydrogen-powered medium and heavy duty vehicles are a possible solution to shift some of these fossil fuel uses, with potential benefits that will grow with the project itself.

A screenshot of an animation of how the renewable hydrogen infrastructure would work in the Port of Seattle
The ports in Seattle and Tacoma are planning for a clean energy future through the Northwest Seaport Alliance. One possible strategy is the generation and storage of emission-free green hydrogen in order to refuel heavy commercial vehicles at new filling stations. Once the hydrogen infrastructure is in place, planners envision using it to generate on-demand shore power for ships at berth, to replace the combustion of diesel fuel or to recharge electrically powered tugs and other ships. Hydrogen even has the potential to supply a mini power grid in the port with electricity, which would provide an important emergency power supply in the event of a natural disaster. (Animation by Sara Levine | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

For Debra Smith, City Light’s general manager and CEO, examining the addition of clean hydrogen to the utility’s growing energy portfolio is yet another example of how City Light is working to diversify our customers’ energy choices.

“With the development of our industry, the demand from our customers to meet their specific energy needs with sustainable and environmentally friendly energy has also increased. For Seattle City Light, partnering with our customers who want to address the climate crisis by decarbonizing their operations is more important than ever, ”said Smith. “We look forward to working with these agencies to provide a cleaner future for our customers in the port and in our region as a whole.”

The team plans a two-year timeframe to prepare the final project recommendations. We will continue to provide updates when key milestones are met. Read more about this innovative work here.

Prepare for the next power outage
Preparing for a power outage can go a long way towards keeping you and your family comfortable, informed, and most importantly, safe. Visit our blog post at for tips and resources on how to prepare.

Be on the lookout for scammers
We continue to receive a large number of reports from scammers calling customers and demanding payments. We have also received reports of fraudsters demanding payments through third-party payment applications. If someone calls you to request payment instead of working with you to create a payment plan, that person is a scam. Immediately hang up 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 wind, solar, and other renewable energy projects in the Pacific Northwest. They also help us fund solar rooftop projects from non-profit organizations such as schools, parks, and affordable housing organizations. Learn more at

Payment assistance programs are available
The effects of the pandemic continue to create significant financial difficulties for our customers. City Light is committed to ensuring that all customers have access to clean energy regardless of their income. Here are some of city light’s financial aid programs to help ease the stress during this time. Visit seattle.Gov/city-light/paymentassistance to learn more.

Generators can be effective during a power outage, but they must be used with caution. Always use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas and outside of your home.

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

Arroyo / South Arbor Heights: Completion of underground cable installation and removal of obsolete street lighting systems

Belltown: System upgrades on 2nd Avenue and Battery Street

Service area: Replacement of old power poles for more security and reliability

South Lake Union: Building Upgrades in Denny Substation and Civilian Improvements in Thomas Street

Wedgwood: Replacing Legacy Underground Infrastructure to Improve Reliability

This is a partial list. Details can be found at to access our map and find out about individual projects.


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