In May 2019, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a law requiring that 100 percent of the state’s electricity come from clean energy sources by 2045, becoming the 4th state to commit to entirely clean energy, following Hawaii, California and New Mexico. The law also mandates structural changes to the way the state’s utilities do business, and includes bill reductions as well as weatherization, energy efficiency, and “direct customer ownership in distributed energy resources.”
Washington, which relies heavily on hydroelectric power, already generates more than 75% of its electricity from carbon-free sources, including renewable energy. This measure would require utilities to eliminate coal as an energy source by the end of 2025 as the first step toward the governor’s goal.
Existing hydroelectric power would count toward that goal, giving the state about 25 years to find carbon-free sources for the remaining 25% of its electricity needs.
Inslee also signed a bill that seeks to make large commercial buildings more energy efficient. Another establishes new minimum efficiency and testing standards for certain appliances, including portable air conditioners, showerheads, and water coolers. In order to be sold in the state, several of the appliances covered under the law, including computers and computer monitors, must meet the state’s efficiency standards if they’re manufactured in or after 2021.
Inslee also signed a measure that restores a sales tax break for electric vehicles that had expired last year.
Disappointingly, Washington State voters have rejected carbon-pricing proposals in 2016 and 2018.
Washington is one of twenty five states committed to the U.S. Climate Alliance, which is working to implement policies that advance the goals of the Paris Agreement.