Photo courtesy of Chelan County.

Photo courtesy of Chelan County.

The Chelan County (Wash.) Public Utility District is considering making the switch to renewable diesel to fuel its fleet. Craig Weddle, supply chain and fleet manager, said the district has tested renewable diesel on about 40 vehicles from its line department — including boom trucks, digger derricks, and line foreman trucks — for about three months.

The district has used 20,000 gallons of renewable diesel so far and recently purchased another 10,000 gallons to continue the pilot program. It plans to decide this Fall whether it will adopt the fuel. The City of Wenatchee and two county fire districts also use the PUD's fueling facilities and would convert to renewable diesel if the decision is made.

Chelan County PUD maintains a fleet of about 840 assets, including 310 road vehicles. About half of the district's fleet would switch over to renewable diesel, and fleet emissions are expected to decrease from 3.3 million pounds of carbon emissions per year to 1 million pounds. 

But Weddle said the utility district is still considering all options and plans to take a cautious approach. Concerns in making the switch include the limited production of renewable diesel in the U.S. and global concerns related to using palm oil in renewable diesel production.

Weddle said his district began looking at biofuel options in preparation for a Washington state law that requires all publicly owned vessels, vehicles, and construction equipment to be fueled by electricity or biofuel by June 2018. 

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