Commercial, Sourcing Renewables, Wind  -  May 1, 2019

Portland buses to ride with the wind

Portland, Oregon will feature all-electric buses powered by 100% wind energy, believed to be a transit industry first in the U.S. 

According to TriMet, Oregon’s largest transit provider, the battery-electric buses will be powered by Portland General Electric’s (PGE)Clean Wind℠ renewable energy program. “Today, we are riding the winds of change. TriMet’s commitment to a zero-emissions bus fleet by 2040 and support of wind power put the agency and our region at the forefront of a cleaner future,” said Doug Kelsey,TriMet's general manager, at the premiere of two electric buses during an event at its Merlo Operations facility. 

TriMet’s electric buses have electric motors powered by energy stored in rechargeable battery packs instead of combustion engines fueled by diesel. These buses will reduce GHG emissions by about 100-140 tons per year compared to a 40-foot diesel bus and about 75 tons per year compared to TriMet’s eight diesel-hybrid buses. These electric buses have regenerative braking, which allows kinetic energy to be captured for immediate use or storage when the vehicle slows. 

TriMet’s first five battery-electric buses were funded by a $3.4 million federal grant, plus a partnership with PGE where the utility will own and maintain the electric charging equipment. The savings from the partnership allowed TriMet to purchase a fifth bus. TriMet plans to purchase up to another 80 electric buses over the next five to six years with $53 million in funds generated by the Keep Oregon Moving Act. The fleet’s first zero-emission buses will run in predominately low-income and minority communities.

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