The PUD held a meeting on electric vehicle trends in Chelan County at is board meeting this week.

The PUD worked with several other utilities to develop an electric vehicle forecast, with the effort beginning in 2017.

It now shows there are twice as many electric cars on the road in the county as was originally forecast about five years ago.

The county is also experiencing a roughly 25 percent growth rate in electric cars every year.

If the growth rate were to continue at the same pace, there would be 12,000 electric vehicles in the county by 2035.

A chart put together by the PUD shows that if every customer with a meter was driving an electric vehicle, the surge in power use would not be a strain on the utility's capacity.

"Overall, the system is in pretty good condition to be able to accept it," said Chelan PUD Customer Energy Solutions Team Manager Andrew Grassell. "There may be locational areas. Those will always have to be looked at on a case-by-case basis, that might need some additional work. But overall, the system looks in pretty good shape."

Power delivery could be challenged if there was a heavy concentration of high-level chargers located in a single area, but most vehicles aren't yet to that level.

The PUD will also be dealing with the Washington Clean Fuels Standard, also known as the Low Carbon Fuel Standard.

The legislature passed a measure creating the Standard in 2021 and rulemaking was completed in 2022, with implementation coming this year.

The Standard targets transportation emissions, and fuels are assessed to determine their carbon intensity.

Clean fuels, including the PUD's hydropower, generate credits under the Standard, which can be sold.

Purcell says the PUD is working on a system to gather as many credits as possible.

"If we get them, then we know the value of those credits when we monetize them will be able to be spent in our county, where as if some other third-party aggregator came in, which is possible under the law, we don't know where those funds are going," said Grassell. "And those could go outside, so those credits are generated either way, and we want to make sure the value of those stay here."

The PUD is trying to make sure it gets as many credits as possible from residential charging, where there's heavy competition from electric car manufacturers and firms that make electric car chargers.

Once the credits are collected and sold to environmental polluters, the PUD will use the money generated on a variety of purposes, such as constructing more electric car charging stations.

The PUD will be required to use the money on continued electrification. Half the money must be used on a group of projects on a list compiled by the state Department of Ecology and Department of Transportation. Thirty percent must go to low income or disadvantaged families. The PUD can spend the remaining 20 percent on projects of its choosing.

Among the priorities for the PUD this year are to put a Low Carbon Fuel Standard program in place, develop a managed charging pilot program to be implemented in the next few years, support efforts to convert fleets to electric vehicles and maintain engagement with Link Transit on efforts to reduce its carbon foot print.

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