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A decade of progress positions Washington State to take renewable energy to the next level

For Immediate Release

Spokane -- Since 2008, Washington has increased wind production nearly four-fold and solar energy production 228 times, according to a new report released today by Environment Washington Research & Policy Center.  This increase ranks us 14th in wind and 32nd in solar nationally.  The report also highlights advances in the use of energy storage and electric vehicles that can help catalyze the clean energy revolution in Washington.  Washington ranked 5th for improvements in electricity energy efficiency programs.

“Every day, there’s more evidence that a cleaner, healthier economy powered by renewable energy is within our reach,” said Bruce Speight from the Environment Washington Research and Policy Center. “The progress we’ve made in the last decade on renewable energy and technologies like battery storage and electric cars should give Washingtonians the confidence that we can take clean energy to the next level.”

The report, Renewables on the Rise: A Decade of Progress Positions America for a 100% Renewable Future, provides a state-by-state assessment of the growth of key technologies needed to power the nation with clean, renewable energy, including wind, solar, energy efficiency, energy storage and electric vehicles. Washington ranked 14th for wind and 32nd for solar and 3rd for number of electric vehicles sold through 2017.

“Washington State has seen significant progress on clean energy and has helped lead on clean energy” continued Professor Brian H. Henning from 350 Spokane. “But, in order to ensure a healthy future for our kids, we need to continue to lead with by transitioning Washington as quickly to a future powered by renewable energy.”

“Washington has been a leader in transitioning to clean energy,” said Nina Webster, First Vice President with Amalgamated Bank, a member of RE100. “The actions and policies outlined in this report exemplify the kind of responsible and forward-thinking steps we all must be focused on to make a difference and Amalgamated Bank is proud to put its support behind them."

The report describes the factors that rapid growth in each category since 2008, including policies, improved technologies and lower costs, all of which suggest the potential for continued rapid growth in the years to come. State leaders will be considering policy proposals in 2019 that increase energy efficiency, transition our electricity grid to 100 clean energy, promote a cleaner and greener transportation system and further incentivize electric cars and buses.

“We’ve build a good foundation, with our 15 percent renewable energy standard and the state renewable energy production incentive,” said Speight. “Be we need to build on the foundation and take aggressive action to increase efficiency and wind and solar power in the short term, commit to 100 percent clean and renewable electricity, and ensure that all new energy resources in Washington are clean and renewable.

The report comes as a diverse group of U.S. cities, states, corporations and institutions commit to 100 percent renewable energy. In 2015, Hawaii became the first state in the country to set a 100 percent renewable energy requirement. Earlier this year, California became the second state by passing a similar bill.

At the local level, more than 80 American cities, led by a mix of Republican and Democratic mayors, have committed to that goal, including Edmonds, Whatcom County, Bellingham and Spokane. In September the City of Spokane set a goal of 100 percent renewable energy for the city by 2030. In addition, 131 major companies, including Bank of America, Google, Anheuser-Busch, and Amalgamated Bank have committed to power their operations with 100 percent renewable energy.

“The City of Spokane is showing the way with their leadership for 100% clean and renewable energy by 2030,” added Speight. “It’s time for Washington State to follow their lead.”

“The reality is inescapable: fossil fuels pollute our air, water, and land, while threatening our health and changing our climate,” said Kara Odegard of Odegard Consulting and Board Member of the Spokane Independent Metro Business Alliance (SIMBA). “We need to seize the moment, build on recent progress, and lean into a future powered by clean, renewable energy.”

“Washington State has seen significant progress on clean energy over the past decade” continued Levi Keesecker from E2 Environmental, a SIMBA supporter. “But, in order to guarantee a healthy future for our children, we need to continue to lead by ensuring Washington is fully powered by renewable energy as quickly as possible.”

Repowering our economy with clean, renewable energy can put our nation on a healthier, more sustainable course. And with rapid improvements in technology, vast clean energy resources, and a willing public, a future powered entirely by clean, renewable energy is increasingly within our reach.

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Environment Washington Research & Policy Center is a 501(c)(3) organization. We are dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives. For more information, visit www.environmentwashingtoncenter.org.