Community-Defined Decarbonization

Washington State aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the scale and pace that the climate crisis requires

The Clean Energy Transition Institute and our partners were privileged to have been chosen to provide technical assistance to the Washington State Department of Commerce in developing and designing the state’s 2021 State Energy Strategy.
Washington State Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Targets
below 1990 levels by 2030
below 1990 levels by 2040
below 1990 levels, with net zero emissions by 2050

Washington 2021 State Energy Strategy and Supporting Materials

This project enabled us to develop a wealth of information about specific policies and actions required to decarbonize the building, transportation, electricity, and industrial sectors in the next decade and beyond, not only in Washington, but across the Northwest.

Technical Advisory Process

From March-December 2020 the CETI Team provided technical analysis to the Washington State Department of Commerce in support of a suite of policies and actions designed to meet Washington’s greenhouse gas targets and achieve decarbonization in the state.
The technical consulting included:
Conducting a meta-analysis of existing energy studies and strategies and an inventory of existing Washington policies, programs, regulations, investments, and tools
Facilitating a technical advisory process to inform the Advisory Committee’s advice and recommendations
Performing decarbonization and modeling and analysis, building on existing efforts and guided by the technical advisory process and Advisory Committee deliberations
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 Analysis and Strategy Design Consultants

The Clean Energy Transition Institute facilitated the technical advisory process, design, and production of the Washington State 2021 Energy Strategy from March to December with the following consultants:

Clean Energy Transition Institute

Aditi Bansal, Policy and Research Analyst
Marc Daudon, Senior Fellow
Nicole Larson, Research Assistant
David Paolella, Policy and Research Analyst
Eileen V. Quigley, Executive Director

Evolved Energy Research

Jeremy Hargreaves, Principal

Hammerschlag, LLC

Roel Hammerschlag, Principal

Inclusive Economics

Betony Jones, Founder

One Visual Mind

Karen Beck, Partner
Carol Maglitta
, Partner

Stockholm Environment Institute

Derik Broekhoff, Senior Scientist
Michael Lazarus
, U.S. Center Director

2050 Institute

Poppy Storm, Founder and Director of Innovation

Historical disinvestment, limited technical, managerial, and financial capacity of utilities, aging infrastructure, and limited social and economic opportunity mean that Washington’s rural communities pay a greater portion of their income than their urban counterparts to keep their lights on and cool their homes in the summertime. It also means rural households and communities may lack the resources to decarbonize their buildings at the rate that is necessary to combat climate change.

The Community-Defined Decarbonization project aims to:

1.     Understand the drivers of energy disparities in low-income, energy-burdened rural and Tribal households and communities; and

2.     Identify ways that decarbonization strategies and clean energy development can address these energy inequities.

We interviewed 24 community leaders, nonprofit staffers, and government agency representatives who work with rural and Tribal communities in Washington state to understand affected communities’ priorities for addressing energy burden and whether they thought decarbonization could address the energy inequity they experience.

We also applied quantitative analyses to publicly available datasets to understand community-level energy inequities and their relationship to socioeconomic disparities. We reviewed research on energy burden, efficacy of weatherization and energy efficiency programs, and the potential for decarbonization to address economic and public health outcomes.

The combined quantitative and qualitative research suggests that building decarbonization solutions—energy efficiency/weatherization; electrification; distributed renewable energy; vehicle-to-grid technologies; demand management; and fuel-switching to clean energy—cannot be advanced without addressing the fundamental inequity that exists in rural and Tribal housing and the energy burden that low-income rural and Tribal households face.

Addressing these inequities will require an interdisciplinary approach, with community-defined desires as the solution. Ultimately, there are several opportunities that can and should be leveraged in partnership with rural and Tribal communities, such as organizational collaboration, workforce development, and community leadership.

Washington State Industrial Emissions Analysis Documents:

Oregon Clean Energy Pathways Analysis Documents:

2021 WA State Energy Strategy Presentations

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