The Evergreen State Progressing Toward Being Carbon Neutral

State Economy

The population of the “Evergreen State”, Washington is approximately 7.90 million people[1]. Washington is the 13th most populated state in the United States.

In 2021, Washington’s economy was ranked 8th in the United States in gross domestic product (GDP)[2]. The state’s economy is dependent on the agriculture, aerospace, information technology, and forestry industries[3].

Environment Policies

In 2006, Washington enacted a Renewable Energy Standard, which requires each utility to be greenhouse gas neutral by 2030 and 100% renewable or zero-emitting by 2045[4].

In April 2022, utilities[5] used renewable energy (74.4 %), natural gas (12.0 %), nuclear energy (10.0 %), and coal (3.6 %) to generate electricity in Washington. Hydropower, wind, and biomass are the primary types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Washington.

In April 2022, the average cost of residential electricity in Washington was 10.12 ¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 14.77 ¢ per kWh.

Recent renewable energy developments in Washington include:

  • 1,200 MW Pumped Storage Project – American hydropower company, Rye Development and Danish infrastructure company, CIP are continuing work on the Goldendale Pumped Storage Project, which is located approximately 140 miles southeast of the city of Seattle, Washington. The project is scheduled to be commissioned in 2028.
  • 1,150 MW Wind + Solar Project – Colorado renewable energy company, Scout Clean Energy is continuing the permitting process to build a wind plus solar hybrid project at a site approximately 200 miles southeast of the city of Seattle.
  • 193 MW Solar Project – In December 2021, Spanish power company, Iberdrola commissioned the Lund Hill solar project, which is located approximately 150 miles southeast of Seattle.

Conclusions

Washington has approximately 700 million tons of coal reserves[6], however the state’s last coal mine closed in 2006. The coal that is used to fuel Washington’s last coal-fired power plants is imported by rail from Montana and Wyoming.

In 2005, 11.9% of Washington’s electricity was generated from coal-fueled power plants[7]. In April 2022, only 3.6% of the state’s electricity was generated from coal-fueled power plants. The state’s last coal-fired power plant is scheduled to close in 2025.

Washington is rich in renewable energy resources including hydropower, wind, solar, and biomass. The state continues to make steady progress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is on track for each utility to be greenhouse gas neutral by 2030.

The Evergreen State is making real progress in becoming carbon neutral.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy related topics.

[1] Washington Population 2022, World Population Review

[2] U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis

[3] Biggest Industries in Washington  – World Atlas

[4] National Conference of State Legislators – State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, August 13, 2021

[5] U.S. Energy Information Agency – Washington State Profile and Energy Estimates, www.eia.gov

[6] U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Report 2018

[7] U.S. Energy Information Agency, Washington  Electric Power Consumption Estimates 1960 – 2018

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