Did you know the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Coalition Network partners with the National Park Service to support the use of renewable and alternative fuels, electric drive vehicles, and other advanced transportation technologies at national parks across the country? One of the fundamental missions of the NPS is to preserve our parks for future generations, and that includes implementing clean and sustainable solutions to protect the air, water, vegetation, and wildlife. In 1999, the Department of Energy partnered with the National Park Service to create the Clean Cities National Park Initiative.
One initiative that continues to grow in our park system is supporting electric transportation. For the past decade, our National Parks have been installing EV charging stations to support growing battery electric vehicle ownership trends amongst their visitors. What began in 1999 as the “Green Our Rides” initiative to reduce the parks’ dependence on petroleum and reduce greenhouse gas emissions is evolving into a model for conservation for all communities. Since then, collaboration has grown to include the National Park Foundation, National Park Service (NPS), Department of Energy, and BMW of North America.
In 2012, there were only about a dozen EV chargers in national parks. Still, by 2016 the Clean Cities National Park Initiative received funding from BMW of North America to install an additional 100 charging stations in or near our national parks. Some of these stations were installed in the Everglades, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, and Mount Ranier.
Green energy initiatives don’t stop there, though. NPS plans to convert its government-owned fleet of vehicles to battery-electric cars, trucks, and buses. This falls within an overall goal of the Biden Administration and led by Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Transportation Secretary, to electrify the government’s fleet of over 645,000 vehicles. Zion National Park is at the top of the list for a complete electric overhaul, according to Amanda Rowland, Public Information Office for Zion. By replacing its buses alone, the park estimates they will reduce CO2 emission by 192 metric tons and create an improved experience for visitors and wildlife in the park.
Another park initiative is using natural energy from the sun to power its facilities. At Crater Lake National Park, photovoltaic power (a.k.a. solar energy) provides all the power needed to electrify Crater Lake’s North Entrance Fee Station. That’s a great start, and other National Parks are going all-in, too. Alcatraz National Park received $8.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to install a solar-powered microgrid atop the roof of the main cell house building. The panels generate enough electricity to power most of the island’s needs, plus a surplus stored in a special energy storage unit. Since 2012, their reliance on diesel fuel has decreased by 75%.
Are You Interested in Learning More About Green Energy Solutions?
The Rogue Valley Clean Cities Coalition’s mission is to enhance the livability of the Rogue Valley. We promote and educate on alternate fuels, seek to decrease dependency on petroleum, and promote clean air and water in the Rogue Valley via alternate fuels. Contact us today for more information!