From June to December 2023, Whatcom County and The City of Olympia engaged in a peer learning cohort called Planning and Funding for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Deployment as part of the Clean Energy to Communities (C2C) program, with the Columbia-Willamette & Western Washington Clean Cities Coalition as partners. Whatcom County and the City of Olympia applied to participate in this national program and were paired with our coalitions to receive additional assistance and support in translating cohort learnings to their local contexts.
C2C is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) with assistance from the World Resources Institute (WRI). C2C aims to advance local clean energy goals across the United States. C2C peer-learning cohorts are sets of approximately 15 local governments, utilities, tribes, and other organizations that meet for six months about a single clean energy topic of interest.
This cohort, Planning and Funding for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Deployment, facilitated regular gatherings to exchange strategies, share best practices, and develop action plans to address challenges in transitioning to clean transportation infrastructure. Whatcom County and the City of Olympia were competitively selected as two of those fifteen participants.
Monthly workshops covered the role of local government in accelerating electric vehicle infrastructure, a variety of funding models, equitable deployment strategies, zoning considerations, and contracting methods. For inspiration and technical guidance, peer learning sessions highlighted successful Clean Cities stories.
Additionally, at these meetings, lab experts provided the cohort with education, case studies, analysis and modeling tools, templates, and training, and facilitated collaboration between the cohort members.
Lauren Clemens, the Climate Action Manager of Whatcom County's Public Works Department, highlighted the program's significance, emphasizing its role in aligning the county's actions with its Climate Action Plan.
Clemens said that "the technical assistance provided by Columbia-Willamette Clean Cities, as part of the C2C cohort 'Planning and Funding for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Deployment,’ has been essential to help sequence the county's next steps to increase access to public charging."
We are nearing the end of this program, but the Clean Cities team will continue to be a resource for both regions.
For more information about the C2C program, visit: https://www.nrel.gov/c2c/cohorts.