Blessed with 50,000 miles of rivers and streams and a deep respect for nature and the environment, it shouldn’t be surprising that Washington State is leading the way in developing and adopting a clean, affordable and sustainable energy portfolio.
Washington’s ambitious and historic effort to become 100% reliant on non-carbon emitting energy by 2045 is the cornerstone of this effort. This initiative will require the industry to bring new ideas to market, including radically new ideas in energy production and storage technologies, grid management and alternative energy supplies such as solar, wind, hydrogen, biomass and tidal.
Washington produces 73% of its power from clean energy sources at the moment, with enough of a surplus to provide electricity to 10 other western states through its network of hydroelectric dams.
The state’s collaboration and cooperation culture connect clean energy innovators to a diverse range of new ideas, not only in clean technologies but also in software, hardware, cloud computing, smart homes, and advanced materials and transportation systems.
- 73% of energy production comes from renewable sources.
- The state is working towards a 100% non-carbon emitting energy portfolio by 2045.
- A quarter of all U.S. hydroelectric power comes from Washington State.
- The state produces twice as much energy as it consumes.
- Washington has the third-lowest average per kWh cost for electricity in the nation.
- More than 1,700 wind turbines produce 3,100 megawatts of power, the second largest contributor to the state’s growing renewable portfolio.
- Natural gas piped in from Canada is used primarily for residential heating, followed by the industrial and electric-power generating sectors.
- The state’s Clean Energy Fund has allocated more than $150 million in grants to organizations and researchers exploring new energy concepts and technologies.
Washington State has been the epicenter of clean energy long before it was fashionable. Pioneers recognized the potential of the state’s rivers and streams, using them to power sawmills. The floodgates of mass power production opened in the mid 20th century as the Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams came online, bringing plentiful, cheap electricity to the West. By 2018, 69% of Washington’s power came from hydroelectric sources, with natural gas, nuclear, wind and biomass making up the rest of the state’s clean energy portfolio.
Washington’s new clean energy legislation requires greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced by 45% by 2030 and 95% by 2050. To meet this aggressive goal, the state will need to eliminate its reliance on fossil fuels by 2050.
These ambitious goals have served as guideposts for creating the 2021 State Energy Strategy, which identifies a comprehensive set of policies and actions to ensure competitive energy prices, foster a clean energy economy, and meet the state’s science-based greenhouse gas reduction limits.
This includes a need for near-term investment in electric power generation and transmission systems, electric heat pumps in homes and businesses, and a new generation of cars and trucks that don’t run on fossil fuels. Washington will also be working closely with border states to reduce emissions in the industrial sector. Broadband access is another strategy, taking vehicles off the road by allowing workers to work at home or remotely.
The strategy also assures that the transition to clean energy will be inclusive, ensuring that low-income customers have access to these new energy sources through programs, grants and other funding. Tax incentives encourage developers to engage in renewable energy development activities that pay workers a living wage.
Other highlights of the State Energy Strategy:
- By the end of 2025, utilities must end the use of all coal-fired electric generation systems from their portfolios.
- By 2030, utilities must utilize an electric resource portfolio that is greenhouse gas neutral. To comply, at least 80% of electricity must be from renewable sources or non-emitting power. Other emission reductions must offset any use of natural gas to produce electricity.
- By 2045, utilities must use 100% renewable or nuclear resources to serve Washington customers, with no provision for offsets.
Washington’s clean energy sector is well equipped to meet these aggressive goals. The sector employs approximately 90,000 scientists, researchers, technicians and other workers, backed by more than $200 million in venture capital.
Research labs at the University of Washington, Washington State University and the Pacific Northwest Laboratory – one of only 10 such federal laboratories in the United States – continue to find new ways to solve complex problems related to energy production, storage, management and conservation.
The clean tech industry gets the enthusiastic support of the Washington State government at all levels, right up to the Governor’s office and the legislature. Since 2013 the Clean Energy Fund has managed a $150 million portfolio in grants to researchers, utilities, and partnering organizations to explore new energy concepts and technologies. This government support level can help your business get ahead of the pack in clean technology and new energy strategies for the future.
To attract further investment and innovation, the state offers clean technology companies a range of incentives, including B&O tax reductions for manufacturers of solar energy systems, components and semiconductor materials and sales and tax credits for equipment that generates electricity using renewable energy.
Contact our clean technology experts today!
If your company is exploring or producing next-generation clean energy products, technologies or concepts, even those still on the drawing boards, Washington State is the place to be.
Our culture of innovation and invention offers you dynamic partnerships with other high performing companies; a workforce of highly-skilled, out-of-the-box thinkers; a pro-business environment that supports and rewards successful enterprises; and a stunning natural landscape that will inspire you to create and succeed in exploring new energy sources and technologies that protect the environment and reduce our carbon footprint.
To learn more about Washington’s clean tech industry, whether you’re a startup bent on bringing the next big thing to market or a multinational firm looking for new investment or growth opportunities, contact one of our business experts listed on the right.
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