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Rob Sargent,
Environment Washington

Ten Years of Progress Positions Washington State to Take Renewable Energy to the Next Level

For Immediate Release

Ten Years of Progress Positions Washington State to Take Renewable Energy to the Next Level

Seattle, WA -- Since 2007, Washington State has seen a 17,588 percent increase in the amount of electricity it gets from the sun and a 330 percent increase in wind energy production, according to a new report released today by Environment Washington Research and Policy Center. The report also highlights advances in the use of energy storage and electric vehicles that will help catalyze the clean energy revolution in Washington. Emerging as a leader in some categories, Washington ranked 3rd for number of electric vehicles sold and 10th for improvements in electricity energy efficiency programs.

“Every day, we see more evidence that an economy powered by renewable energy is within our reach,” said Bruce Speight from 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 Toward a Clean Energy 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 11th for wind and 27th for solar through March 2017.

“If you were to tell me that the energy we consume is causing the warming of the planet and that we can now change to a different type of energy that will not cause this destruction, and it is limitless, then my reply is, ‘what are we waiting for?’” said Mike Nelson, City of Edmonds Councilmember. “That is why Edmonds established a 100% renewable energy goal. I believe that shifting to 100% renewable energy is achievable and that cities can play a significant role in getting renewable energy to everyone’s doorstep.”

The report describes the factors that contributed to rapid growth in each category since 2007, including policies, improved technologies and lower costs, all of which suggest the potential for continued rapid growth in the years to come. Washington’s renewable energy standard, strong solar net metering policy and solar energy production incentive, among other policies, have contributed significantly to our progress on clean energy.

“A&R Solar is proud to be part of the Northwest’s clean-energy success story,” said Reeves Clippard, CEO of A&R Solar. “Demand for solar in Washington is huge. In our ten years, we’ve helped more than 1,200 home and business owners cut carbon and own their power by going solar. As veteran solar contractors we’ve seen first-hand how strong solar policy supports job growth and career development.”

"Key clean energy technologies are improving rapidly and getting cheaper seemingly every day," said Gideon Weissman of Frontier Group, report co-author. "These and other advances open up new opportunities to end our dependence on fossil fuels and embrace a future built on clean, renewable energy."

“At the Center for Wooden Boats, we’re thrilled to have this solar array,” said Brandt Faatz, Executive Director of the Center. “We expect it will meet all our power needs both for our new Wagner Education Center and for our floating buildings. That’ll save us thousands of dollars each year while taking our carbon footprint to near zero.”

The report also comes as a growing number of U.S. cities, states, corporations and institutions consider commitments to 100 percent renewable energy. Currently 37 cities have committed to 100 percent renewable energy, including Edmonds, WA. Nearly 100 major companies have made a 100 percent renewable commitment, including Apple, Walmart and LEGO. Hawaii is committed to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2045. California and Massachusetts are currently considering legislation. And, bills have been introduced in both houses of Congress.

“We’ve build a good foundation, with Initiative 937, which required large utilities in the state to obtain 15 percent of their energy from new renewable resources like wind and solar by 2020, and the renewable energy production incentive program,” continued Speight. “But we need to build on the foundation and increase our renewable energy standard, committing to 100% renewable as Hawaii has done, and enacting policies that further increase efficiency and electric vehicle deployment in Washington.”

“The reality is inescapable: fossil fuels pollute our air, water and land, threatening our health and changing our climate even faster than scientists predicted,” concluded Speight. “We need to seize the moment and lean into a future powered by clean, renewable energy.”

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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.