Leading the Charge

Holland Nighttime Aerial View

Lowering our local carbon footprint is an effort that requires action in many ways from our community as a whole. As we encourage all to work together to continue our progress towards goals of the Community Energy Plan (CEP), Holland BPW and the City of Holland are stepping up to the plate and making decisions that reduce our carbon footprint. By electing 100% renewable energy for municipal buildings and implementing a new alternative fuel purchasing policy, we choose to lead by example.

Alternative Fuel Purchasing Policy

Reducing carbon emissions in transportation is a key lever of the CEP 2021 recommendations. One strategy within the transportation key lever is to “shift all new purchases of HBPW/City fleet to electric, where service performance allows, by 2030” (Strategic Development Team, 2021 – 2025 CEP Goals, Strategies & Action Steps 2021).

Transportation accounts for 17% of our community’s carbon emissions. This demonstrates that as a part of a collective, every vehicle makes an impact. The new policy “provides guidelines for the City of Holland and Holland BPW (the “City”) to purchase the most cost-effective, least polluting, and fuel-efficient vehicles and equipment possible while still meeting the operational requirements of intended use.”

The policy creates a prioritization structure for all-electric, hybrid and low emission alternative fuel vehicles, stating “the most fuel-efficient vehicle available meeting the operational needs and financial constraints of the ordering department shall be given priority consideration.”

Hybrid Vehicles

Holland BPW currently has three hybrid vehicles. Current plans for upcoming replacements of aging automobiles will add several plug-in vehicles to the fleet by 2024. City Council approved the new policy on October 21, 2020.

When it comes to larger fleet vehicles, like utility trucks, electric vehicle technology is not fully accessible. In those instances, Holland BPW seeks creative solutions that fulfill the purpose of the vehicle in the most effective and efficient manner. Recently, the electric distribution department replaced a bucket truck. Due to the size of the truck, an internal combustion engine continued to be the best available option. However, the innovation of electric components created a unique solution.

The new bucket truck uses Volta battery system technology to run the hydraulics that move the arm and bucket accessories. Utilizing a battery means that the truck’s engine can be turned off while electric crews work. The process eliminates emissions and noise caused by idling which improves crew communication and the experience of nearby neighbors.

Electrification of Holland BPW’s fleet will continue to grow. We have plans to purchase three Ford F-150 Lightning all-electric trucks.

100% Renewable Energy Rate for Municipal Buildings

Renewable energy is electricity from sources that produce little or no emissions by using resources that replenish themselves naturally, such as wind, landfill gas, and sunlight. Fifteen percent of the electricity supplied by Holland BPW comes from renewable resources.

Holland BPW’s Elective Renewable Energy Rate gives customers a choice in their source of electricity. Customers choose how much of their energy comes from renewable sources for a small premium of $0.01 per kilowatt hour (kWh), and without any large investments. The Elective Renewable Energy Rate results in an immediate reduction of a building’s carbon footprint.

Holland BPW and the City of Holland have both chosen to go 100% on the Elective Renewable Energy Rate for most municipal buildings. This is an exciting step in lowering carbon emissions for our community.

When customers choose additional renewable energy, their demand drives us to secure additional supplies. The more people that choose the Elective Renewable Energy Rate, the smaller our community’s carbon footprint will be.

With the electric rate-decrease in 2021 (link to HEP debt retirement article), many customers are choosing to go 100% renewable without seeing an increase in their electric bills in comparison to 2020. Customers can sign up here: https://hollandbpw.com/en/pdf-forms/elective-renewable-energy-application/view/form