Technical Support for the Washington 2021 State Energy Strategy

Eileen V. Quigley
May 13, 2020

The Washington State Department of Commerce engaged the Clean Energy Transition Institute (CETI) in March to provide technical consultation to Commerce, the Governor’s office, and an Advisory Committee in developing the Washington 2021 State Energy Strategy.

Landmark Clean Energy Legislation

The Washington State legislature passed the Clean Energy Transformation Act of 2019 (SB 5116), landmark clean energy legislation that commits the state to an electricity supply that is greenhouse gas-free by 2045.

That legislation calls for an updated state energy strategy and the creation of an Advisory Committee to provide guidance, advice, and recommendations for the state energy strategy. The underlying considerations for developing the recommendations include:

  • Maintaining reasonable and fair prices and sufficient supply of energy,
  • Promoting a competitive clean energy economy and workforce development across the state,
  • Meeting the needs of low-income and vulnerable populations, and
  • Reaching and responding to the needs of both urban and rural communities

The recommended policies and actions for the 2021 state energy strategy will emphasize:

  • Identifying and supporting clean energy practices in business, industry and agriculture,
  • Reducing the energy use and carbon emissions of new and existing buildings,
  • Improving and modernizing the state’s electricity supply, structure, systems and grid and,
  • Increasing the use of clean energy for transportation.

Ambitious Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets

During the 2020 Washington State legislative session, the legislation adopted the following ambitious carbon emissions reductions targets that govern the state energy strategy and the state’s overall approach to attaining deep decarbonization by 2050:

  • 45% below 1990 levels by 2030
  • 70% below 1990 levels by 2040
  • 95% below 1990 levels, with net zero emissions by 2050

The CETI Team is providing technical consulting work to enhance understanding of the costs and benefits of a suite of policies and actions to meet Washington’s greenhouse gas targets that are designed achieve decarbonization in the state. The technical consulting includes:

  1. Conducting a meta-analysis of existing energy studies and strategies and an inventory of existing Washington policies, programs, regulations, investments, and tools
  2. Facilitating a technical advisory process to inform the Advisory Committee’s advice and recommendations
  3. Performing decarbonization and modeling and analysis, building on existing efforts and guided by the technical advisory process and Advisory Committee deliberations
  4. Working with Commerce to create communication materials, including the design and preparation of a final report and supporting documents to launch the final 2021 State Energy Strategy

Technical Process and Deep Decarbonization Modeling Overview

On March 31, 2020, the CETI team presented an overview of the technical process, as well as a review of the findings of the Northwest Deep Decarbonization Pathways study, a recording of which can be found here.

Subsequently, on May 13, we conducted a webinar during which we offered a deep dive into deep decarbonization pathways modeling. The presentation covered model methodology, assumptions, and how key results will be used to inform policy development in Washington.

We also introduced the concept of scenario development and how the scenarios will be used to determine preferred approaches to achieving Washington’s carbon reduction goals. The recording of the webinar can be found here (password: 8z#3&3v*).

Mission-Critical Work

Washington state aims to lead the nation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the scale and pace that the climate crisis requires and the CETI and our partners are privileged to have been chosen to provide the technical assistance to determine how the state can succeed in this mission-critical work.

Eileen V. Quigley

Founder & Executive Director
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