In 2022, Washington’s economy was ranked 11th in the United States in gross domestic product (GDP). The state’s economy is dependent on agriculture, aerospace, information technology, and forestry.
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.
Power Generation Capabilities
In June 2023, utilities used renewable energy (81.5%), natural gas (13.4%), nuclear power (3.3%), and coal (1.8%) to generate electricity in Washington. Hydropower is the dominant type of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Washington.
In June 2023, the average cost of residential electricity in Washington was 11.21¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 16.11¢ 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 + Energy Storage Project – Colorado renewable energy company, Scout Clean Energy is continuing the permitting process to build the Horse Heaven Clean Energy Center, a hybrid wind, solar, and energy storage project at a site approximately 200 miles southeast of the city of Seattle.
- 150 MW Solar Project – In February 2023, Spanish power company, Iberdrola commissioned the Lund Hill Solar project, which is located approximately 150 miles southeast of Seattle.
Washington has approximately 700 million tons of coal reserves, 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. In June 2023, only 1.8% 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, onshore wind, offshore 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.
Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”
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, podcast, and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy issues.