SMUD joins national auto, utility, labor and environmental leaders in pledge to cut transportation energy use in half
SMUD CEO Arlen Orchard partners with prominent national transportation commission to launch a campaign to cut U.S. transportation energy use by 50 percent by 2050 (dubbed the “50x50” goal) while also improving mobility.
Amid rapidly evolving transportation trends like ride-sharing, electrification, autonomous vehicles and other technologies, the Alliance to Save Energy’s 50x50 Commission on U.S. Transportation Sector Efficiency issued recommendations calling on policymakers to coordinate a successful energy efficiency transformation of the transportation sector.
“I applaud the 50x50 Commission’s final report which provides a roadmap to a cleaner, more sustainable transportation future,” said SMUD CEO Arlen Orchard. “Our own ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting energy efficiency in transportation will benefit greatly from this national effort. This partnership helps us seize this transformational moment in the convergence of energy and transportation.”
The 50x50 Commission is a diverse coalition of leading vehicle manufacturers, utilities, environmental and consumer groups, unions, technology companies, and public official. The group says the U.S. could fall behind foreign competitors if federal, state, and local policymakers don’t act to adopt the policy recommendations.
Transportation represents roughly one-third of U.S. energy consumption and recently displaced electricity generation as the leading source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. In California, it’s the single highest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state. It’s also the second biggest daily expense for American families. Demand for transportation services is set to rise significantly in the future, potentially increasing congestion on roads, and putting more stress on the already overburdened public transportation systems. But these challenges can be overcome. The 50x50 Commission united to develop a policy agenda that seizes the opportunities of new transportation technologies and business models to transform mobility for passengers and goods while using energy more efficiently.
SMUD shared its 28 years of electric vehicle experience with the commission in key areas of light duty electric vehicles and enabling infrastructure around charging. In addition, SMUD shared and gathered knowledge on integrated shared mobility and autonomous vehicles to help Sacramento become a center for autonomous vehicle deployment and economic development.
“Right now, we have the chance to shape the future for the better, achieving multiple goals at once. We can simultaneously unlock innovation and new technologies and make mobility easier, faster, and better, all while using dramatically less energy,” said Jason Hartke, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, which convened the Commission. “Charting the right path now will help us avoid unpredictable fuel costs, rising greenhouse gas emissions, and lost American competitiveness. These policy recommendations set the course to make transportation more accessible and convenient for all while cutting our energy use dramatically.”
The Commission’s report, released at a forum in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday morning, provides recommendations to policymakers focused on three themes, including:
Transform. Policymakers should not only seek to enhance the energy efficiency of vehicles and components, but also to capitalize on new technologies to transition to an efficient, integrated, and improved “transportation services” model. Transportation services should be allocated efficiently, affordably, and effectively according to geographic and service needs, with policies encouraging consumers to select the most efficient transportation modes.
Innovate. The U.S. should prioritize its leadership in pursuing research, development, deployment, and demonstration for efficient transportation innovation opportunities. Congress and federal agencies should continue to support the development of electric vehicles, which are currently the most efficient vehicles on the market. Federal agencies should maximize their impact through measures including public-private partnerships that stimulate research into market-transformational technologies.
Invest. Policymakers should focus on improving the efficiency of all vehicle types by promoting fuel economy standards and accelerating vehicle turnover and incentivizing the deployment of and infrastructure for energy-efficient vehicles, especially electric vehicles (battery-electric vehicles and hydrogen electric vehicles), plug-in and non-plug in hybrid vehicles, and highly efficient vehicles running on renewable natural gas. Policymakers should support electric vehicles, which are highly efficient, through standardization of adaptors and customer experience, the promotion of practices to ensure optimal grid stability, and the redesign of the Highway Trust Fund to ensure the growth of efficient vehicles is balanced with equitably-funded infrastructure investments. Such solutions should take equity and jobs into account by ensuring low-income and under-served consumers have access to improved mobility and ensuring a well-prepared workforce through the sector’s transitions.
The 50x50 Commission includes Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America (co-chair); Dean Seavers, President, US, National Grid (co-chair); Melissa E. Adams, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, WGL Holdings/Washington Gas; John Di Stasio, President, Large Public Power Council; Bruce Edelston, VP, Energy Policy, Southern Company; Matt Enstice, President & CEO, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus; Jack Gillis, Executive Director, Consumer Federation of America; Thomas R. Kuhn, President, Edison Electric Institute; Eric J. McCarthy, Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Public Policy and Legal Affairs, Proterra; Arlen Orchard, CEO & GM, Sacramento Municipal Utility District; Giovanni Palazzo, CEO, Electrify America; Thomas S. Passek, President, Copper Development Association; Gil C. Quiniones, President & CEO, New York Power Authority; Norman Saari, Commissioner, Michigan Public Service Commission; Kevin B. Self, SVP of Strategy, Business Develop & Government Relations, Schneider Electric; Paul Skoutelas, President & CEO, American Public Transportation Association; Lonnie Stephenson, International President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Rhea Suh, President, Natural Resources Defense Council; Dan Turton, VP, North America Public Policy, General Motors; Bert Van Hoof, Partner - Group Program Manager, Microsoft; Ted Walker, Managing Director, Navigant; and Greg White, Executive Director, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.
The Commission’s recommendations were informed by the work of more than 100 experts from across the country serving on technical committees. The committees issued five “sector baseline” reports evaluating a wide range of transportation sectors and technologies. The technical committees were chaired by Robert Chapman, Vice President, Energy and Environment, Electric Power Research Institute; Robert Horton, Vice President, Environmental Affairs, DFW International Airport; Roy Kuga, Vice President, Grid Integration & Innovation, PG&E Corporation; Dr. Philip Lavrich, Director, Strategy and Advanced Technologies, Ingersoll Rand; and Patricia Monahan, Program Director, Transportation, Energy Foundation.
The 50x50 Commission’s full report and biographical information for all Commissioners is available at: www.50x50transportation.org.
About the Alliance to Save Energy
Founded in 1977, the Alliance to Save Energy is a nonprofit, bipartisan alliance of business, government, environmental and consumer leaders working to expand the economy while using less energy. Our mission is to promote energy productivity worldwide – including through energy efficiency – to achieve a stronger economy, a cleaner environment and greater energy security, affordability and reliability.
As the nation’s sixth-largest community-owned, not-for-profit, electric service provider, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity for more than 70 years to Sacramento County and small adjoining portions of Placer and Yolo Counties. SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies, and for its sustainable solutions for a healthier environment. SMUD’s power mix is about 50 percent non-carbon emitting.