Washington’s clean energy future at riskPosted on January 23, 2012
Initiative 937, the Clean Energy Initiative voters passed in 2006, has done everything Washington citizens wanted it to do and more. I-937 remains the single best tool in our state to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, create clean energy jobs that will boost our local economy, and keep us on track to a clean energy future.
Since its passage, I-937 has created about $7.5 billion in new investments in this state, creating 7,200 jobs across the region. More than $40 million in property tax revenue has been generated for local communities to pay for schools, firefighters and other public services. And through I-937 our state has realized record energy conservation, saving nearly $70 million on consumers’ electric bills.
Despite these clear benefits, the fate of I-937 hangs in the balance. Two identical bills to amend I-937 – HB 2654 and SB 6396 – have hearings scheduled this week in the legislature.
The bills include changes we are open to – changes that attempt to strike an appropriate balance between providing utilities with increased flexibility while maintaining the long-term goals of the original initiative. It is critical that changes are balanced with a proposed new provision – starting in 2020, utilities will meet all of their new power needs with clean and renewable energy until they reach 20% of their total energy needs!
But some of the changes go too far and significantly undercut our progress toward a clean energy future, including allowing existing 30-year old biomass plants to count toward the renewable energy standard. Another proposed change modifies the standard for some utilities so much that it eliminates the market for new renewables far into the future.
You passed I-937 to ensure our state adds new renewable resources, to build on our clean energy heritage and diversify our state’s energy resources. We do support flexibility for utilities – if it is balanced with maintaining the long-term goals of I-937.
But we won’t be able to make these positive changes and prevent attempts to weaken I-937 without your help. Take action to stand up for I-937!
Please attend one of these two critical hearings on the bills addressing changes to I-937.
- Monday, Jan. 23, 1:30 p.m. – Senate Energy, Natural Resources & Marine Waters Committee hearing on SB 6396 in Cherberg Hearing Rm. 2.
- Tuesday, Jan. 24, 1:30 p.m. – House Environment Committee hearing on HB 2654 in O’Brien Hearing Rm. C.
If you are able to attend the hearing please contact Cy Berryman at 206-621-0094 or cy<at>nwenergy.org
Want to know more about the Clean Energy Initiative? See our FAQ here.