Energy Strategy

Background

The Washington Energy Strategy is the state's plan for how to decarbonize, and outlines several different pathways to get there. It was completed in 2021 after public review. It is described by the State as a

"comprehensive set of policies and actions to ensure competitive energy prices, foster a clean energy economy, and meet the state’s science-based greenhouse gas reduction limits.

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 virtually eliminate the use of fossil fuels by 2050. The 2021 State Energy Strategy uses these limits as the baseline for policies to reduce emissions from coal, petroleum, and natural gas used for energy in homes, commercial buildings, industry, transportation, and electric power generation.

The strategy identifies a need for rapid investment in the electric power generation and transmission system, electric heat pumps in homes and businesses, and replacements for gasoline-powered cars and trucks. Washington needs to improve its planning and accountability, particularly in the transportation sector, and it needs to work with other states to reduce emissions in the industrial sector, according to the strategy.

The strategy also calls for Washington to establish a clean fuel standard and adopt a policy of universal access to broadband Internet service. A clean fuel standard is a market-based mechanism to shift transportation from gasoline and diesel to electricity and biofuels. Universal broadband access reduces transportation demand and emissions and enables new technologies to manage energy use.

The 2021 State Energy Strategy also emphasizes the importance of an equitable transition, which requires public investment to support clean energy projects serving low-income communities and reduce industrial and transportation-related pollution."