Operation 2030: Mobilizing Large-Scale Building Decarbonization in Washington State

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

About the Project

CETI is launching Operation 2030 in partnership with the 2050 Institute to frame and jumpstart the large-scale mobilization required by 2030 to position Washington State to meet its transformational building decarbonization goals by 2050. The initiative currently consists of two phases starting with a report in fall 2021, followed by a series of Operation 2030 strategic forums and policy briefs throughout 2022. 

It is difficult to overestimate the critical importance the next eight years will play in securing Washington’s capacity to decarbonize its building stock by 2050. To meet its 2050 emissions limits, the state must decarbonize, maximize efficiency, and increase demand flexibility in more than 3 million buildings and homes in less than 30 years. 

To succeed in this transition at this scale, Washington must decarbonize and retrofit as many buildings and housing units as possible between now and 2030, while building a policy platform and the institutional and market capacity to turbocharge the annual retrofit rate by no later than 2030. 

This large-scale transformation of the building stock will be a tremendous planning and logistical challenge, requiring a high degree of alignment in terms of vision, goals, and implementation across all relevant departments, agencies, organizations, and market actors. 

However, this effort also offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity for deep investment in market innovation, economic growth, and community resilience, as well as bold shifts in how Washington regulates, incentivizes, and funds building performance and decarbonization. Operation 2030 is intended to help chart this path with a specific emphasis on the time-critical nature of key strategic decisions and actions.

Desired Project Outcomes

Phase 1 of Operation 2030 includes a report defining the mission-critical pathway to strategically decarbonize Washington’s building stock by 2050. The study will assess key uncertainties and considerations that must be addressed to ensure the pathway can be operationalized at scale while mitigating grid impacts and maximizing positive economic and equity impacts. 

The report will include milestones and metrics for new and existing buildings, including annual retrofit rates, and will recommend an approach to tracking progress against key metrics. Operation 2030 will also recommend a prioritized list of key policy and structural changes, and a fast-tracked timeline by year from 2022 through 2030. 

Phase 2 will include a series of Operation 2030 strategic forums and workshops bringing stakeholders together to develop targeted policies and implementation strategies that recognize the scale, pace, and paradigm shifts required to successfully mobilize and align key segments of the building sector. The forum outputs will be summarized in Operation 2030 policy briefs throughout 2022. 

2021 WA State Energy Strategy Presentations

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