Washington citizens, through passage of Initiative 937 (Energy Independence Act), require the state's 17 largest utilities to identify and to acquire all cost-effective electricity efficiency (conservation). These utilities are investing several hundred million dollars per year in helping their customers become more efficient. These conservation measures defer or eliminate the need for utilities to build coal or natural gas fired thermal electricity generation resources that increase electric sector greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The targeted 155 average megawatt target is based on Commerce and Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) estimates of what I-937 utilities will achieve by 2020.
Over the 2016 calendar year, utilities reported acquiring 107.8 average megawatts of energy efficiency, so the state is currently not on track to meet the 2020 target.
Washington State has several approaches to promote energy efficiency:
- Making new buildings much more efficient by working to achieve the statutory requirement of a 70% efficiency improvement in new buildings by 2030 via the state energy code.
- Commerce's new Clean Energy fund creates new loan funds for energy efficiency projects.
- The state has funded more than $200 million in energy efficiency upgrades to public facilities.
- The UTC has developed new policies (decoupling) that remove disincentives for utility investment in energy efficiency.
- Commerce is working to develop better mechanisms to disclose energy use to citizens and business so that they can make more informed efficiency decisions and investment.
- Commerce is working on ways to expand financing for energy efficiency through such mechanisms as on-bill financing/payment.
Check on progress towards meeting the conservation target and the outcome measure of reducing GHG emissions from the electric sector using the following links:
Dept. of Commerce energy efficiency links