RICHLAND, Wash. – Electric vehicle drivers in Washington will soon have eight more options for
charging their rides along U.S. Route 12. Construction is set to begin on new stations along the White
Pass Scenic Byway this spring.
Leading the infrastructure expansion effort is Energy Northwest, a Washington state joint operating
agency that operates one of the largest carbon-free energy portfolios in the region. Energy Northwest
has been involved with electric vehicle infrastructure development since 2016 and has overseen
installation of 10 EV charging stations throughout eastern and central Washington. The addition of the
White Pass Scenic Byway stations will bridge the charging gap between eastern and western parts of
“Energy Northwest is striving to help Washington state meet its climate goals and looking to ways we
can make an impact in both the energy and transportation sectors,” said Greg Cullen, Energy
Northwest’s vice president for Energy Services & Development. “As transportation evolves, getting the
infrastructure in place is vital for communities across Washington.”
The project is a collaboration among EN, Lewis County Public Utility District and Twin Transit, with
support from White Pass Scenic Byway organization, Benton REA and surrounding community
“Highway 12 is integral for east to west travel, with stretches of rural areas through Lewis, Pierce and
Yakima counties. It’s designated as an underserved corridor for EV drivers,” said Jennifer Harper,
Energy Northwest project developer. “There was a desire and support from local communities along
the route to bring this effort together.”
Energy Northwest secured two grants to fund the infrastructure project – a $1.15 million grant from the
Washington State Department of Commerce’s Clean Energy Fund and about $667,000 from the
TransAlta Coal Transition Fund.
“Transportation is Washington’s largest source of polluting greenhouse gas emissions, and the 2021
State Energy Strategy emphasizes the essential need to improve the design and operation of our
state’s transportation networks,” said Washington State Department of Commerce assistant director
Michael Furze. “Establishing charging infrastructure along the White Pass Scenic Byway is a
necessary step towards electrifying Washington’s transportation sector. We support Energy
Northwest’s efforts to connect communities and the regions across our state by making long distance
electric charging possible in this beautiful part of our state.”
Stations along the route will include at least one DC fast charger and one Level 2 charger at each site.
Each location will also have a White Pass Scenic Byway interpretive sign highlighting nearby
attractions and local information.
“The White Pass Scenic Byway is a beautiful drive and there are amazing recreational opportunities
all along the way. We’re thrilled that EV drivers who want to get out and explore places like
Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens or Mt. Adams can do so without the worry of where they can charge their
vehicles,” said Maree Lerchen, White Pass Scenic Byway president.
Once the stations are online, they will be listed for drivers to find on the PlugShare website and mobile
application. The stations are scheduled to be operational by the end of the year.