Washington State Energy Office Releases 2021 State Energy Strategy

Source: rlmartin

The Washington State Department of Commerce’s Energy Office recently released its 2021 State Energy Strategy, a comprehensive, long-term roadmap detailing the policies Washington must adopt and the actions the state must take to equitably achieve the state's greenhouse gas emissions reduction limits in the energy sector. In 2020, based on the latest scientific evidence, the Legislature enacted statewide greenhouse gas limits that require a 45 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 and a 95 percent reduction by 2050. To meet these requirements, Washington must effectively eliminate the use of fossil fuels by 2050.

Washington’s existing Clean Electricity Transformation Act commits the state to an electricity supply free of greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. In addition, the state is implementing performance standards for large commercial buildings and a first-in-nation water heater standard. The 2021 State Energy Strategy builds on these requirements to identify additional measures to reduce emissions from coal, petroleum, and natural gas used for energy in homes, commercial buildings, industry, transportation and electric power generation. To equitably transition the state while supporting highly impacted populations and workers, the strategy encourages the incorporation of equity considerations when clean energy policies are developed and implemented, and recommends funding for communities to participate in the clean energy transformation.

The 2021 State Energy Strategy identifies a suite of priorities that Washington will need to aggressively pursue to meet its greenhouse gas emissions limits in the energy sector. Chief among those are rapid investments in the state’s electric power system, retrofits for heat pumps in homes and businesses, and significant transportation electrification. The strategy also identifies universal broadband access and a clean fuel standard as state priorities in the coming years. Furthermore, the strategy recognizes that climate change will inflict its greatest harm on highly impacted communities, Tribes, rural areas and low income households, and that deliberate and committed efforts are needed to avoid leaving these communities worse off. The strategy includes dozens of individual recommendations for action by policy makers, government agencies, utilities, the private sector and individual households.

This is the first update of Washington’s State Energy Strategy since 2012, and is the state’s official energy plan. Supported by deep decarbonization modeling and analysis, the State Energy Office convened a 27-member advisory committee, consisting of legislators, utilities, consumer advocates, and various civic organizations and energy industries, to provide feedback and guidance on the strategy’s development. For questions on the strategy, please reach out to Kate Kelly at kate.kelly@commerce.wa.gov.