In the wake of the United Nations’ recent report on climate change and the damage that could result from it as soon as 2040, reducing greenhouse gas emissions is reportedly more urgent than ever.
One way in which Washington state is attempting to lower its emissions is by investing in renewable energy resources. Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that eight state agencies will purchase more than 100 million kWh of electricity by 2021 from wind and solar projects built in Washington.
The purchased electricity will cover a quarter of the demand required to run state agency operations — enough to power more than 6,000 houses.
“We are walking the talk when it comes to stepping up to the challenge of reducing emissions across state government,” Inslee said. “One way we are doing this is by purchasing clean, renewable energy from projects built right here in Washington state. Not only does this get us closer to meeting our emissions reduction goals, but it will also save us money over the long term.”
The energy purchases are possible thanks to the agencies’ participation in Puget Sound Energy’s Green Direct program and Avista’s Solar Select Program. The participating agencies include: the Department of Enterprise Services, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Social and Health Services, the Department of Health, the Department of Labor and Industries, the Department of Ecology, and Washington State Patrol.
According to Inslee, the Department of Enterprise Services will start by buying 39.8 million kWh of solar and wind power next year. That power will serve state-owned facilities in Thurston County.
In 2021, six more of the participating agencies will purchase 67.8 million kWh of solar and wind power, which will help operate facilities around the Puget Sound. Agencies will purchase an additional 3.6 million kWh of electricity from a Lind, Washington solar power facility to help run operations in eastern Washington.
“This purchase of renewable power shows that state agencies are committed to reducing emissions and bolsters public confidence in our environmental performance efforts,” said Hanna Waterstrat, director of the Office of State Efficiency and Environmental Performance at the Department of Commerce. “We have an important role to play in strengthening communities through environmentally-responsible purchasing and reduction of energy use and toxins in state government operations.”