When Salt River Project launched its biodiesel pilot program in 1999, there was no guarantee or expectation that it would grow or become as successful as it is 16 years later. To date, 41 percent of the vehicles in SRP’s fleet are powered by B-20 biodiesel fuel, which is a blend of 20 percent vegetable oil and 80 percent diesel fuel.
“Currently, SRP has about 2,300 vehicles — ranging from sedans to construction equipment. Among that fleet, almost 950 automobiles utilize B-20 biodiesel,” said Becky Lawrence, SRP’s senior business technician with Transportation Services. “SRP vehicles log 15 million miles a year, so we realized, long ago, that we needed to use biodiesel and be more environmentally conscious.”
SRP’s Transportation Services department is a key player in quickly and reliably moving water and power to SRP customers by supporting the construction and maintenance infrastructure. Transportation Services constantly strives to improve the energy efficiency of SRP’s fleet to further strengthen SRP’s commitment to be environmental stewards within the community, Lawrence said.
“In 2014, SRP used more than 603,000 gallons of biodiesel fuel, which is enough to fill roughly 40 backyard swimming pools, and equates to 37 percent of our total fuel mix,” she added “I’m excited we are making such a positive impact on the environment. We are reducing emissions and I feel like I’m doing my part in being environmentally responsible.”
According to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, B-20 reduces carbon monoxide emissions by 15 percent. It also has helped SRP save money and diversify its fuel supply.
“We are not tied down to just one option for fuel, and that is beneficial because it allows us to diversify our fleet, said Lawrence. “It’s been cost effective as well because it allows us to comply with federal regulations.” SRP plans to continue to grow its biodiesel fleet and will be purchasing about 30 more B-20 pieces of equipment this year. As new vehicles are purchased many are sent directly from the factory equipped to take biodiesel straight from the pump.
SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP also is the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 800,000 acre-feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users.