Our short, dark Northwest winter days have begun to lengthen and brighten. The Biden Administration is taking hold in our beleaguered national capital, laser-focused on tackling climate change. With new Covid cases and deaths slowing and vaccinations on the rise, a new day is dawning. The Clean Energy Transition Institute team is cautiously optimistic about the coming year—and already exceptionally busy!
Current Projects Aditi Bansal has been working steadily since the new year began on our Decarbonizing Buildings with an Equity Focus project, which is funded by the Bullitt Foundation and the Seattle Foundation. As a result of her research for the Washington 2021 State Energy Strategy, she is looking at understanding the barriers to decarbonizing buildings equitably for low-income, energy-burdened households and renters in Washington’s rural counties.
To make good use of our Tableau Foundation grant for data visualization software, David Paolella is designing a Northwest Clean Energy Atlas. Inspired by the impressive Oregon Department of Energy2020 Biennial Energy Report, he aims to create an interactive atlas of energy data for the Northwest.
Since January, the Institute, Renewable Northwest, GridLab, and Evolved Energy Research have been examining different clean energy targets for Oregon stakeholders. We will present preliminary findings to a technical review committee next week and anticipate finalized results by the end of March.
Finally, we remain engaged with the Washington Department of Commerce, providing ongoing technical assistance and communications materials pertaining to the 2021 State Energy Strategy.
The Institute has been in the news lately. First, we were featured in the third article of an InvestigateWest series called Getting to Zero: Decarbonizing Cascadia. The story ran in the Associated Press, San Francisco Chronicle, Grist, Crosscut, and The Tyee, among many other outlets.
Just this week, Eileen was quoted in The Washington Post on the challenges of transitioning home appliances from natural gas, noting that there are real costs to switch from fossil gas to electricity that must be addressed for decarbonization to take place equitably.
We have had a flurry of invitations to present the Institute’s work. First, Washington Business for Climate Action invited us to talk about the technical analysis underpinning Washington’s energy strategy, which we did on January 25.
Five days later, we engaged on a panel for the Washington Climate Assembly that gathered 80 Washingtonians chosen by lottery to learn about, deliberate, and recommend climate change solutions for the state legislature to consider.
On February 16, we participated as one of four panelists at the University of Washington WashPIRG Winter Virtual Event focused on decarbonizing transportation.
Finally, on February 24, Aditi and Eileen met with the Jefferson County/Port Townsend Climate Action Committee and discussed how the Washington state energy strategy addresses issues impacting rural communities.
Aditi wrote about Washington House Bill 1084, the Healthy Homes and Clean Buildings Act, an ambitious legislative effort led by Rep. Alex Ramel (D-40th District) to strengthen the state energy code, limit natural gas expansion in buildings, and advance clean electricity. The bill did not make it past legislative cut-off on February 22 but some version will likely be introduced in 2022.
David published a piece on House Bill 1091, which is still alive in the Washington legislature and would establish a clean fuel standard in Washington. In our first blog of the year, Eileen wrote up the launch of the Washington state energy strategy.
We want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our loyal donors, who contributed so generously to the Institute all year and at year end. We added 21 new donors in 2020, bringing our total to 72 contributors. We are so appreciative of your support. Should you wish to make a donation, you may either send checks to 4616 25th Avenue NE, #416, Seattle, WA 98105, or give online.
We will be back in March with updates on our existing programs and a look at the new endeavors we have planned for 2021. Until then, we thank you very much for your ongoing engagement, which makes our work possible.